Disappointments versus great memories

August 27, 2013

It’s easy to focus on disappointments versus the good side of our lives. For instance, at Fan Expo this weekend, I had a lot of cool experiences:

  • Took part in the costume masquerade as a contestant, (as Harry Dresden again) and had a blast!
  • Got some cool graphic novels for decent prices.
  • Watched and listened to three great Q&A sessions, with Zachary Quinto, Colin Baker… and Nathan Fillion! (Whoo-hoo!)
  • Got my Serenity blueprints book and ‘Those Left Behind’ graphic novel signed by Gina Torres

However, there were also a few things I was looking forward to that I didn’t have a chance to participate in, mostly because of the insane crowd of other Browncoat fans from hundreds of kilometers in every direction converging on the Metro Toronto Convention Center, and having to make choices and settle on priorities without full information about what all’s going on. Specifically, I didn’t get in to see Gina’s Q&A session, and I wasn’t able to get anything signed by Nathan. Big sigh here.

I also didn’t get much sleep on Saturday night; the costume masquerade ran late, and I had to stand on the GO bus to get back to Hamitlon by midnight. I was on the road again by quarter after seven in the morning Sunday morning, and spent a nervous hour waiting outside Room 105, my gray bag with all my stuff (including cell phones, other electronic gadgets, and the things Gina had signed and Nathan didn’t,) stuck inside, unable to go back in to get them before the Walking Dead panel let out, hoping that I’d be able to reclaim it, and that I’d get a seat for Nathan’s Q&A. Which I did, for both, even if it wasn’t quite as nice a seat as the one I’d had before I left the hall and managed to slip past the security Nazi without somehow figuring out I had to tell him that I was going to the bathroom. *facepalm*

Umm… yeah. Need to remember to look on the bright side. 🙂

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I should be packing right now…

June 23, 2012

I’ll get back to work on it in just a few minutes, but I wanted to drop you guys a little note. So – packing has been one big focus of my attention since yesterday evening – ever since I did the math backwards from my flight time tomorrow and figured out that I should be leaving at seven AM. (Three hours at the airport for an international flight? Sigh… at least I’ll have videos to watch and can do writing or critiques on the netbook.)

I’ve written a little more for story #7 today – and I actually crossed the 16k line that was my minimum word count goal, but that doesn’t count for as much as getting eight stories finished. And we’ll see about getting the critiques done in advance too – I’m working on number sixteen out of twenty-four, which will be two rounds of stories out of three for each other author in the workshop. I’m already good for Monday to Thursday’s stories, for the first week, so that’s pretty good.

And I went to the Can’t Stop the Serenity screening in Toronto and had a great time, though I had a bit of a headache, (stress?) But I’m glad I came out to share in the fun – there was video of a really cool dramatic reading that Joss wrote, with three girls each telling one story of a troubled girl from a different part of the world, that Equality Now has helped personally and wants to be able to do more to prevent other girls from being badly treated in the same ways.

I left a few lots into the charity auction, after biding one up to the $45 cash I had with me, and being seriously outbid with a winning bid over $100 Canadian. I hope that everybody has a great time at the shindig, but the stuff I have to do here is more important today.


1 year of Kelworth Files

June 22, 2011

Well, looks like I was so busy with rewrites and starting off the ‘Harry Potter’ review series that I missed a milestone – this blog turned one year old on June 10th. Happy Belated Anniversary to me!

So, to commemorate the occasion, I’ll link back to three of my favorite memories for each month, June 2010 to May 2011.

June

The very beginnings of my blogging journey.

  1. My very first (and most popular) Beat Sheet – Serenity!
  2. My trip home from Toronto CSTS 2010 and the G20 riots.
  3. The prologue debate.

July

  1. Who could forget JulNoWriMo?
  2. The Polaris convention!
  3. Sharing a rejection letter.

August

  1. Travelling up to Hunstville.
  2. Fan Expo!
  3. CritMo on Stringing Words.

September

  1. I got awards!
  2. Another beat sheet – The Simpsons Movie!
  3. How to take criticism.

Read the rest of this entry »


Update to my ‘Serenity’ Beat sheet.

June 18, 2011

Breaking news – there’s more to the Blake Snyder beat sheet for ‘Serenity’ than I first thought.

Or maybe there is. I was watching the movie for the first time in months, at the screening today, and something occurred to me about that big long stretch of the film before River goes kung-fu fighting in the bar. At first, I couldn’t put that into any other slot than ‘setup, and a bit of fun and games’ – because the hovercraft chase sequence definitely made the trailer, and Joss even said on the audio commentary that if he didn’t get to play with a hovercraft he was ready to take his Firefly and go home – if that isn’t fun and games, I don’t know what is.

But my new theory is that Joss is being a lot more clever than he seems. At the point when Simon and River leave the ship on Beaumonde, it looks like that might be the break into Act 2. And then, River starts beating up people, and we realize that that’s only the catalyst. So, we have a false break into two, and that would mean:

  • Simon confronting Mal before they land is a false catalyst.
  • All the stuff in between is a false debate – will they or won’t they actually leave the ship?
  • This almost creates ‘Act one and a half’ out of the true catalyst, debate, and break into two.

I think I like this way of analyzing the movie, especially because it shows that a gifted writer can do more than just play with the timing of the beats, he can actually repeat beats and still end up with an entertaining film. Just because you know the structure, doesn’t mean that you have to follow it too closely.

The next installment of the ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’ series will hopefully be done by Monday evening. I’ll have a special Father’s day post for tomorrow.


Can’t stop the Serenity 2011

June 17, 2011

The Toronto CSTS screening event is tomorrow afternoon. I’m so excited that it’s almost here!

Background: Can’t stop the Serenity is a charity fundraiser put on by fans of the ‘Firefly’ franchise, benefiting Equality Now, an organization that fights for the human rights of women around the world. (It’s a favorite charity of Joss Whedon, the creator of Firefly.) They run events in many US cities and other countries around the world, though I’ve only ever been to the Torotno screenings. Check http://www.cantstoptheserenity.com/ to see if there’s one near you!

The 2005 feature film ‘Serenity’ is screened, some of the attendees dress up in character, there’s an auction of some cool geeky souvenirs, (some of which have been signed by celebrities,) and then some of the fans move to a local restaurant for the ‘shindig’ party.

This will be my third screening. I actually found out about the first one, in 2008, more or less by accident, from another member of the Hamilton Nanowrimo writer’s group, who was saying that she wouldn’t be available to meet at a coffee hous that Saturday. I decided it was too cool not to go into Toronto for it. That was really the start of my participation in the Toronto fandom scene, though it took me a little while to actually go back in for another Shindig.

I didn’t actually make it to the screening in 2009, though I prepaid my ticket and my t-shirt, so I still contributed to the fundraising that year. (And I love the shirt.) I had some health issues that summer, and if I recall correctly I was out of the hospital by that weekend, but not feeling up to much more than sitting around the apartment and going out for my clinic appointments. I did have a little Firefly DVD marathon to console myself for what I was missing.

And last year, I went in costume for the first time, having put together a thrift-store outfit that looked recognizably like one of Simon Tam’s suits. Picked up a great needlepoint at the auction that I still have sitting on my desk – and that’s the day that I had a bit of unexpected excitement getting home on account of the G20 riots.

This year, I’ve got my eye on a Serenity mousepad as well as some other goodies at the auction. And I’d like to actually put myself out there socially and talk to more new people than I have before.


Blog the cat, chapter 3 – Characters

January 29, 2011

Blog the Cat post index.
In Chapter Three of Save the Cat, “It’s about a guy who…” Blake Snyder talks about how important characters are to a movie idea and pitch. I’m starting to like these offbeat chapter titles, by the way.

I’m certainly predisposed to the idea that well developed characters are central to telling a story, and that the characters should fit the plot well. Blake starts by telling how good characters give the audience somebody to identify with, somebody to experience the story for them. He also covers how descriptive adjectives for your characters can make the logline more compelling, which is interesting especially since I’ve been hearing a lot about how important it is to avoid overusing adjectives in prose fiction, but a script logline is certainly a very different kind of writing, so it’s not too surprising that the rules should be different there.

He gives this checklist for character-related elements to look for in the logline:

  • A hero
  • An adjective to describe the hero
  • A bad guy
  • An adjective to describe the bad guy
  • A compelling, identifiable goal for the hero

Read the rest of this entry »


Fanart 9: Two Firefly Banners

January 11, 2011

Fanart series index.

I want to talk a little bit more about the ‘concept’ of fanart, since I realize that some of my readers may not have been exposed to it that much. To me, the point of fanart is using images from a television or movie to create a new picture, some kind of original vision, and convey that thought to other people who are already familiar with your fandom.

There are lots of different kinds of fanart, and I’ve only tried a few. Some people do original paintings or sketches, and some can do very elaborate manipulations using programs like photoshop and superimposing images that originally didn’t have anything to do with each other into a coherent image. I’m hoping to help with a manipulation fanart sometime soon, but I’ve been finding that even my part, finding the right pieces to put together, is much harder than I expected. Mostly, as I’ve explained, I just work with fairly simple techniques – DVD captures or promotional images, simple cut and paste graphic software, and so on.

And fanart can have lots of different messages that it’s trying to convey. There are some that are very simply calling back to a moment from the original canon, like my Simon/Kaylee wallpaper, or a few that I’ll be sharing later in the series. Some are meant to raise awareness for a particular site or event within the fandom community, a bit like virtual advertising flyers, like the signature banners from two weeks ago.

And then, there are fanfic cover banners, which are a bit like movie posters for somebody’s original fanfiction story. These are possibly my favorite, since I’ve been a very prolific fanfic author in my day, and it’s a great feeling to be able to show somebody a picture that kind of sums up thousands of the words that you’ve put down.

So, without further rambling, here’s a few banners that I made in the early summer of 2010 for two of my Firefly stories. First, “Passing through the storm:”

There’s a lot that this banner conveys to a firefly fan. First, it shows the ensemble of main characters in the story, and how they mainly relate to each other – River off by herself, Kaylee with Simon, Jayne with Zoe, Mal with Inara. To many fans, that roster will also suggest the timeframe of the story, particularly because the missing characters match with some who are no longer around after the movie ‘Serenity’. Also, most or all of the pictures are taken from the movie, not from the TV episodes.

Read the rest of this entry »


Fanart 1: Serenity, Kaylee/Simon

September 29, 2010

Fanart series index.

One of the less ‘literary’ creative pursuits I enjoy trying my hand at sometimes is making fanarts.

I don’t think that I’m a visually artistic person in the usual way, not a born painter and I’ve never been able to (or never taught myself to) sketch a straight line. But putting together pictures and text to convey a moment from a favorite program or advertise a storyline is something that I can manage if I put my mind to it.

The picture below is one of the first collages that I ever made to actually share with other fans, as opposed to for my private enjoyment. It was also created to commemorate my journey to the 2008 ‘Can’t stop the Serenity’ screening, which was in its own little way, my first step into the world of fandom gatherings.

The first step in making any fanart is gathering the component images. Sometimes these come from the internet, but as often as possible, I use my own library of DVDs and the ‘Cyberlink PowerDVD’ program, which makes generating a screen capture from a running DVD as easy as pressing the ‘C’ key.


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