Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Great Digital Firmament...

An infinitesimal electrical impulse between two neurons in the human brain triggers an action. Happens every second to all of us. Most of the time, it's inconsequential. Sometimes, and not often enough, it's the proverbial light bulb illuminating the way.

A word suddenly resonated in my head the other day: GHOSTWRITER.

Now, why didn't I think of that before? I have done it in the past and been paid for it - handsomely. But, how would I go about advertising it? Putting myself out there short of having a bestseller on the charts?  

Here's what I came up with:

A couple of clicks on Blogspot, some clever copy and, voilĂ ! I exist.

The Internet is a fickle and wondrous place. Really. Anything can happen in the great digital firmament. A silly wedding video can go viral on YouTube and get millions of hits...

My little acre in cyberspace ain't no "Jill and Kevin's Big Day". But maybe, just maybe, as those shades-of-Skynet Internet bots spider and crawl through the Web, my page could pop up on a Google search and who knows, eh?

In the meantime, Jill and Kevin's video will continue, deservedly, to get thousands of hits. Why? Because it captures, in all its simplicity and good intentions, our human journey. It's a mini-movie, really - in three acts, no less! Look at it again. It's all there: set-up, complications, higher stakes, climax and resolution. A killer soundtrack. Compelling characters. I could even spot Joseph Campbell's archetypes in the cast. And, you wanna talk monomyth?

This is one of those Internet accidents that hits just the right chords. Fluke, providence, serendipity. Call it what you will. It speaks to our hearts. And, as writers, it's what we strive to do.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Flexing Those Writing Muscles...

On the subject of inspiration, I've blogged several times about how music sets off my creative process.

Recently, a music composer friend sent me an underscore sample. Just great film music. It instantly conjured up images and situations.

Here's the music clip (you might want to raise the volume):

I listened to the haunting melody a couple of times and found myself writing down what my mind's eye saw.

I can't say what follows is completely original or even very good. It just came out as my heart felt it. The subconscious does have a tendency to regurgitate moments from films that have moved us in the past. Regardless, it was real. It fit the music and I could see it playing out on the imaginary screen in front of me.

I'd like to suggest that you play the video as you read this to see if the images come alive for you.

I'd like to challenge you pros and aspiring pros out there. If there's anyone who would like to give this a crack, please send me your little gem and I'll post the best ones:

I'll show the scenes to Claude. I'm not sure where this could go, but, who knows? The couple of pages you send might turn into something bigger...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Without a Jacket and Tie...

Every so often, a song comes along that hits me where it counts.

Nino D'Angleo is an Italian songwriter and performer who sings in the Neopolitan dialect. Many of the most well-known Italian songs were created by singer/songwriters from Naples.

If you ever visited the region, you'll understand where all the inspiration comes from. Perhaps it's Vesuvius, the Amalfitano Coast or the rich, passionate history of the region. Simply, it's one of the most breathtaking and awe-inspiring spots in Italy and the world.

Senza Giacca e Cravatta (Without a Jacket and Tie) was released (I believe) in 1999. I just discovered it.

One of my passtimes lately is to put English subtitles on Italian songs that move me.

It's my little way of keeping my writing muscles in shape.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010


What inspires you?


It does me.

Take this clip, for example. Now, Josh Groban isn't everyone's cup of tea. But, friends of the blank page, this song just sends me...

It burrows into the deepest folds of my heart. It infuses me with conflicting waves of euphoria, joy, love, passion, nostalgia, sadness, regret... yearning for what was and for what could have been.

I lost the most important person in my life recently. Above everything else, someone who was my best friend.

Don't cry for me, Argentina. One day I'll open up a couple of veins and bleed it all out here. Suffice it to say for now that I had it coming.

Maybe you have to be Italian to really appreciate the lyrics. I was so moved by it that I wanted to share it with the world, so I added English subtitles... and listened to it until my eyes and heart were drained. The translation may not be spot on, but it represents what I felt listening to this for the first time.

So, how do I get that kind of emotion on the page?

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?


Writing is all about practice.

It's taking that spark -- that joy or pain, that whatever it was that moved you -- showing up on the blank page and just doing it -- over and over again.

Of course, it helps if you have a little talent. Okay, lots of it. But, only by actually sitting there with your writing implement, day after painful day, can you develop a voice that will be heard above all the cacophony.

Even after doing this "thing of ours" for decades, I still have my doubts and lots and lots of room for improvement.

But, what inspires you, fellow soldiers of the story brigade?

Monday, July 26, 2010


Enough whining.

Some good news today.

I was listed on Telefilm Canada's website as a screenwriting mentor.

Now, if I could figure out a way to make some money from it...