Archive for April, 2011

Sad, this could be true.04.28.11

5 Year Old Screenwriter of Fast Five Interviewed

And yet my husband still wants to go see this, so they must be on to something!

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Location, location, location!04.25.11

Once again I offer my sincerest apologies for the infrequency of posts lately. Happily it has been due to a higher than normal volume of critiques, which I love. I’ve been lucky to get to work with some excellent new writers, as well as some clients I’ve worked with before, and the scripts have been phenomenal. It’s such a pleasure to get to read the good stuff and work with such talented writers.

I have also been living just outside of Orlando, Florida for the past two months, as my husband’s job required him to be here, I packed up my laptop and tagged along. Having spent all but a few vacation’s worth of my life in southern California, it’s been quite an experience and a culture shock to spend so much time in a place so different from my home. In many ways, Florida is a lot like southern California. The awesome weather that makes people across the rest of the country jealous, the constant flow of tourists drawn here for the beaches and of course, Disneyworld remind me of California. So does the hysteria with which the newscasters treat any slight variation in the mild, generally nice weather. Here they get as excited over a bit of fog as the California meteorologists do over a chance of rain.

In many other ways it is quite different.  This is, in fact, the south, and the culture is significantly different than southern California, which, despite being geographically south, is in no way at all the south. I’ve been shocked by Confederate flags flying proudly, but also by how warm and friendly people are. I’ve not sneezed once in public without being greeted by a warm “Bless you!” from at least one stranger. here are churches every few blocks and buffalo wings seem to be a big thing in restaurants. Things move slower, but the Orlando area is also quite cosmopolitan, with amazing restaurants of all varieties, and more things to do than one person ever could, even if you never set food inside a Disney park. The weather, though warm like California, is even this early in the year, still humid compared to what I’m used to. I’ve also been shocked by the rainfall in the middle of an otherwise gorgeous sunny day, or the day-long thunder and lightening storm, with raindrops falling faster and harder than I knew was possible. All that rain leaves the land dotted with countless lakes and ponds, and greenery everywhere you look, and bugs. Huge, disgusting Palmetto bugs, dragonflies in all colors, some as big as a hummingbird. I’ve heard rumors there are alligators here in the wild, but despite the two months I’ve spent living right on a lake the only ones I’ve seen were at Gatorland.  Language and vocabulary are different here. Of course there’s the classic southern “Y’all,” though most people I’ve heard do not have a strong southern accent. An iced tea is either “sweet” or “unsweet,” and you go to “Disney” not Disneyworld.

Being here has taught me a lot about location, and how important creating an authentic sense of place is to a story. I’ve also realized that it’s hard to capture the real feel of a place without spending a significant amount of time living there and interacting with people in a real way. Going on vacation, staying in a hotel and sticking to the tourist spots will give you a taste, but to really learn enough to capture a location properly for a story, you have to have neighbors, go grocery shopping, and live like a local. If you’re interested in writing about a location you have not really experienced, pack up your laptop and get yourself there, your writing and your life will be truly enriched by the experience.

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