Thursday, February 26, 2009

Understanding Screenwriting Terms — Part One

(Note: If the term appears in ALL CAPS below, then it must be written in ALL CAPS in your script)

Beat: Many scripts will use the parenthetical "(beat)" to interrupt a line of dialog. A "beat" suggests the actor should pause a moment, in silence, before continuing the scene. "Beats" are often interchangeable with ellipses "..."

CLOSE ON is a shot description that strongly suggests a close-up on some object, action, or person (an expressive body part such as the face, or a fist).

FAVOR ON A particular character or action is highlighted or "favored" in a shot. The focus is basically centered on someone or something in particular. Use only when necessary.

MATCH CUT TO: A transition often used to compare two completely unrelated objects. For example CLOSE ON hands on the baluster of a staircase cuts to CLOSE ON hands on a set of jail bars.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Radio Ads - Tip 1

Establish name identification early and often. Don't lose your listening audience by bombarding them with all kinds of random details before making a point. It's what newspapers editors call "burying the lead."

In a radio spot where you have 30 or 60 seconds to deliver your message. Give the name of the company, product, service, freebie or whatever you're selling/offering early in the spot. Then repeat it at least three times.

Follow the advice of speechwriters:
1) Tell 'em what you're gonna tell 'em.
2) Tell 'em.
3) Tell 'em what you just told 'em.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Shows in the "Talk To Me..." Archives

Didn't get a chance to tune in to "Talk To Me..." some weeks? Here are links to shows in the "Talk To Me..." archives. Simply click on the guest's name.

Dr Mardy Grothe, author of Oxymoronica, Never Let A Fool Kiss You Or A Kiss Fool You, Viva la Repartee, and I Never Metaphor I Didn't Like

Lisa Genova, author of the New York Times Bestseller, Still Alice.

Nationally syndicated television and radio easy home repair guru, Mrs. Fixit!

Bill Widmeier, owner of Alternatives For Health Wellness Center

Renee Giroux, producer of the BTR show "Coffee With An Author" and creator of the social media web site for book lovers,

Erica Ferencik, satirist and author of Cracks In The Foundation.

Dennis McCurdy, author of the newly released 52 Ways To Find A Way and Find A Way: A Guide To Getting The Most Out Of Life.

Carol Goodrow, founding editor of KidsRunning.Com and author/illustrator of Happy Feet, Healthy Food, Your Child's First Journal of Exercise and Healthy Eating, The Treasure of Health and Happiness, and Kids Running: Have Fun, Get Faster & Go Farther.

Actor Gary Galone, seen on Showtime’s “Brotherhood” “Law & Order” and in upcoming Martin Scorsese film “Ashecliffe.”

Young adult fantasy author Shawn Cormier.

Arlette Gaffrey author of A World of His Own: In The Land of the Creoles.

Attorney Jane Woodworth of the Law Office of Woodworth and Frisella will discuss her niche practice of corporate collections.

Doris Ann Bridgehouse, numerologist and holistic psychic.

Janina Chung, author of Far East of The Sun.

Denny Griffin, discussing his book Las Vegas and The Mob. The National Geographic Channel documentary Vegas Mafia was based largely on his book.

Artist Michelle DeMarco.

Latin guitar legend Eddie Benitez.

Catherine Paris, author of Modern Day Slavery: Human Trafficking Revealed.

Actor/writer/hurricane hunter Tom Barnes. Tom's books include: Hurricane Hunters, The Goring Collection, and Doc Holliday's Road to Tombstone.

Psychologist/author Ron Breazeale will be talking about the politics of fear versus the politics of hope, and the role of resilience.

Author and poet Tasha Halpert.

Musical duo Fiske and Herrera

Rebecca Lerwill, author of Relocating Mia.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

This Week on "Talk To Me..."

Tonight on "Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People"

Tonight's guest is Dr. Mardy Grothe, author of "Oxymoronica'" "Never let a Fool Kiss You or a Kiss Fool You and "I Never Met A Metaphor I Didn't Like."

Tune in, Call in, Live! 347-327-9158 and Talk to me...and Dr. Mardy!

Can't tune in today? This show, and all my interviews, are available in the archives. Simply go to Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People.

Can't tune in today? This show, and all my interviews, are available in the archives. Simply go to Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

From The Writer's Block...

Give your prose pizazz by engaging the senses. Examine the sensory details in the scene. Give the reader more than visual description. Explore the sounds and smells in the environment, the textures. Examples: the rustle of leaves, the piping of an oriole, the gritty sand.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Eating Disorders..Ramping Up

First there was "thinspiration". . . and now we have "pro-ana" (pro-anorexia) and "pro-mia" (pro-bulimia)-- websites dedicated to promoting the idea that eating disorders "are a good thing."

This month, the National Eating Disorders Association's NEDAwareness Week, the largest eating disorders outreach effort in the country, is scheduled for February 22-28. The goal is to reach millions of people with messages of prevention, hope and recovery.

In support of NEDA's efforts, KidsTerrain is offering web site visitors a free viewing of its webinar, Teaching Body
, presented by Rebecca Manley, founder of the Multiservice Eating Disorders Association, Inc. (MEDA). The free viewing is available through March 15.

One goal of companies and organizations such as KidsTerrain and NEDA, respectively, is to counter-balance the insidious message of pro-ana groups and organizations who state they "do not promote anorexia and acknowledge that anorexia is a real medical disorder." The point of their existence is to give anorexics "a place to turn to discuss their illness in a non-judgmental environment." In fairness, some sites do thinly (no pun intended) promote recovery. However, others dispute the prevailing medical consensus that anorexia nervosa and bulimia are complex illnesses rather than "lifestyle choices."More...

According to the experts at Walden Behavioral Care, eating disorders have transitioned from a passing fad affecting college co-eds into a variety of life-threatening diseases that can affect anyone.

If someone you love seems to be losing weight rapidly, taking extreme measures to avoid eating, has radically changed their eating behavior, is exercising obsessively -- all signs of eating disorder behavior--do something about it. Anorexia and bulimia are life-threatening diseases. Seek professional counseling immediately.

(Originally posted to

Monday, February 9, 2009

Lisa Genova on "Talk To Me..."

My guest on "Talk To Me..." Tuesday, February 10 is Lisa Genova, author of The New York Times Bestseller, Still Alice.

Lisa first appeared on "Talk To Me..." last February (2008), shortly after her self-published novel, Still Alice, hit the shelves. Since then, Lisa has been on an author's dream journey...from self-published a six-figure auction book deal with Simon and the New York Times Bestseller list.

Join me ...and we discuss her remarkable year. The call-in number is 347-327-5198. Interview airs live on Blog Talk Radio, Tuesday. February 10, 2009 at 8:30 p.m. Eastern.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Marketing Tips...

There's a marketing rule that you build your business first locally, then regionally, then nationally. Here are three steps to successful, small business local marketing:

1. Target your marketing efforts, beginning with the neighborhood level
2. Participate in community events and fundraisers to generate visibility and goodwill
3. Know your clientele. When possible, meet and greet your customers. Get to know them on a one-to-one basis.

Bonus tip: Share web site links with local and area businesses. This will increase search engine positioning for your web site.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

And Now A Word From Aristotle...

Okay...I'm a philosophy wonk...I admit it. But those early guys had a lot of good "stuff" (their word, not mine.

Aristotle’s Approach to Plot - The Basic Three-Act Structure

Act I: Beginning (Setup) -- introduce the reader to the setting, the main characters, and the situation (conflict) they find themselves in.

* Plot Point 1 is a situation (a first turning point) that drives the main character (protagonist) from their day-to-day life toward some different conflicting situation.
* Here, too, the main character is thrust into the dramatic situation
* The inciting incident at the end of the first act, complicates the story, ensuring life will never be the same again for the protagonist. This incident also raises the dramatic question that will be answered in Act III.

Act II: Middle (Confrontation) -- story develops through a series of complications and obstacles as the protagonist attempts to resolve the problem initiated by the first turning point. The character’s actions lead to a mini crisis and inevitably to an ultimate crisis—the Climax. As the story progresses, there is an overall rising tension as we approach the second turning point, or Climax. The second turning point is the scene or sequence in which the main tensions of the story are brought to their most intense point and the dramatic question answered.

* The resolution of the Climax is Plot Point 2.

Act III: End (Resolution) -- Climax and the loose ends of the story are resolved during the dénouement, when the story and the sub-plots are drawn together and matters are explained or resolved.

* Coward finds his courage, losers win; sinners lose; sinners are redeemed.

Monday, February 2, 2009

More From The Writer's Block...

Point to keep in mind:
Every genre of writing answers questions and has moral value.
Every book has Content (duh!), but Content requires structure or form to shape it.

STRUCTURE is the organization of these events.

Beginning – set up the story, get the reader’s attention, establish the situation/goal

Middle – conflicts (Growth/life lessons) that lead to crisis (need for change, action, decisions)

End – resolution: Works with stories that reflect back over periods of time

SET-UP - create a sense of unity. Lay undertones that guide the reader, set-up for what will happen or influence.

SPINE – another big event that motivates reader to achieve a goal; when the character becomes fully committed. Includes Conscious objective and Unconscious desire – (more powerful, durable – reaches down to innermost self.)

Catalyst - (a turning point, yes) sparks the reader’s goal, mission, need, problem, desire

Resolution - Climax