Thursday, May 29, 2014

First, You Fight the Shark

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You can't have Indiana Jones, E.T., or Jurassic Park without first fighting the shark.

Roy Scheider and Steven Spielberg

Universal's first directorial pick referred to the shark as a whale a la Moby Dick. So, they let a 27-year-old director take over this "good B-movie" titled Jaws. Excited and naive, he took his crew to Martha's Vineyard and the Atlantic Ocean. Steven Spielberg rued his own decision.

What ensued was a disastrous production to rival that of Tommy Wiseau's The Room.

Robert Shaw and Bruce the Shark

For one long summer, the same message echoed via production's intercom system.

Static. "The shark is not working." Static. "The shark is not working."

The ten man crew on a man-made island, jokingly dubbed U.S.S. Garage Sale, scrambled to fix their flopping machination -- hourly. The Orca began sinking with the actors and sound department onboard. The crew fought the Atlantic daily and rewrote the script nightly. Filming went from wrapping in May to late August.

Spielberg recalls attending a party where an actress shared how no one in Hollywood wanted to even touch him after he finished this movie. The news left him ill and fleeing the party.

Filming the final showdown

In the making-of documentary I watched, Jaws author Peter Benchley explain how fascination led to preparedness then to survival. He meant our fascinations with our fears, but this also extends to our ambitions and dreams.

Making movies, starting a business, publishing novels -- it's your dream, but it's a fight to the very end. Spielberg needed to see if he could survive the greatness of his dream. We know what would have been lost had he ran away from this.

"I watched a boy become a man...he was threatened with firing -- everyday. There were people second-guessing him at all times. He never gave in to the stress -- except when he bit his nails." - Dreyfuss, our Matt Hooper with the city hands, "counting money all his life."

It was incredible naivete and an unimaginable outcome.

I've been saying Spielberg, but I mean everyone. What we unknowingly lose when someone gives up on some great dream has been in my head since realizing how close we came to never saving the alien in E.T. or visiting Neverland in Hook.

 I listened to the crew's retelling of production, and the reality of creative passions struck me. Your love for what you pursue must be so great that you learn grit and discipline. It's about sacrificing and reaching.

In that way, you become a miracle.

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Midsummer Reads: 22 Questions

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Today, I'm leaving heavy feelings for my diary. The warm weather has me thinking more about reading, because midsummer is the height of my reading frenzy.

Source: Sincerelysaydee

Here's to 22 Reading Questions

1) Favorite childhood book?

The Three Billy Goats Gruff (the very first favorite)

2) What are you reading right now?

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern & The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

3) Bad book habit?

Peeking ahead and other impatient habits -- those are my book sins.

4) Do you have an e-reader?

No, I like to think of reading as a break from screens.

5) Do you read one book at a time or more?

I juggle like a low-rate circus clown.

6) Least favorite book read this year (so far)?

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

7) Favorite book read this year?

The Disaster Artist by Greg Sestero

Pride & Prejudice directed by Joe Wright (2005)

8) What is your reading comfort zone?

Classic English lit and YA - but I'd like to branch out

9) Can you read on the bus?

I'd probably miss my stop if I ever did.

10) Favorite place to read?

Right before class, or on my bed

11) What is your policy on book lending?

I'll start asking for it back after a few months, but I never forget.

12) Do you ever write in the margins?

Only for textbooks or devotional readings. If I adore a book, then I couldn't mare the pages.

The Great Gatsby directed by Baz Luhrman (2013)
13) What makes you love a book?

I need a character to latch onto and root for; someone who keeps me up until 3am. A beautifully written world (think Gatsby or Anne of Green Gables) is the clincher.

14) What will inspire you to recommend a book?

If a book is full of truths, big and small, that reveal something about the world that I had not seen in the world before. Poignancy.

Or I think that person will simply be entertained.

15) Genre you rarely read (but wish you did)?

Mystery! Why can't I get into it? The idea sounds marvelous.

16) Have you ever read a self-help book?

No, but I've read enough encouraging quotes about the quarter life crisis on Tumblr to possibly qualify.

17) Favorite cookbook?

Speaking my language. Midnight Munchies by Diane Morgan, because I am a night owl who loves her food.

{source unknown}

18) Most inspirational book you've read this year?

The Disaster Artist by Greg Sestero. For all of his incredible and disheartening setbacks lasting years, the disasters culminated in the nightmarish productions period of Tommy Wiseau's The Room. Great things can come from terrible situations.

That's fantastic.

19) Favorite reading snack?

Tea, coffee, or water, please. The better the book, the hungrier (literally) I get.

20) If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose?

A small goal of mine is to read the French version of Harry Potter, as a way to stretch old muscles and re-discover Harry's world.

21) How many books do you usually check out at the library?

I go for two but just have to grab that extra third.

22) How many of those books return unread?

That extra third book.

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Choose a question or two and tell me about beautiful, reader-ly you.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Sleep So Soundly

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I didn't think I had it in me to get up today. There was no foreseeable reason to open the blinds.

But it's not so simple for a writer to stay like that. Unoccupied, I'm always visited by one or two characters. One lazed about beside me and said ridiculous things, like who had the worse case of bedhead (we both considered ourselves the winner). Another tried coaxing me up and, frustrated, conspired with her father then promised to trick me into it later. She came through on that promise.

Repose, regardless of reason, always ignites creative minds.

So how could I ever be deficient in company? Only by not letting them in. I've lately shut out many lovely people in my life.

My last evening in Rome, I hurt my hand jumping off a wall. As my handsome companion looked it over, he told me some wounds need the light to heal.

So, I'll open the blinds and curl my hair while story characters fill my head with words lovely like a lullaby.

.     .     .

Christian Riemensc

{source unknown}



Long Exposure Photograph of Gold Fireflies in Japan by Colossal


Music with Rae

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 What have your characters done for you?