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I am interested in writing a nonficiton book and talked to an editor about the idea this week. She is interested. Hurrah!
But she needs a full proposal that includes a table of contents and a sample chapter. In other words, I have to do some–no, a lot–of work, on spec, before I get a contract. And then, it will be a ton of research to write the book. It’s daunting. To even be in the game, I have to do a lot of work.
I am inspired by Harrison Ford. In an article in the April, 2013 issue of American Way, Jan Hubbard reports on what Ford had to do to get the his latest role. Ford had read an early version of the screenplay for “42,” the new movie about Jacki Robinson’s entry into the world of baseball. Ford was intrigued by the role of Branch Rickey, the manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who desegregated baseball by signing 26-year-old Jackie Robinson.
Director Brain Helgeland wasn’t interested in well-known actors for any of the parts. He wanted people to see the movie because they wanted to learn about Jackie Robinson; he didn’t want people to go to see another “Harrison Ford movie.”
Helgeland refused to even talk to Harrison Ford about the role. Ford was too big an actor.
“Nothing against him,” says Helgeland, who won an Oscar for writing the screenplay for L.A. Confidential in 1997. “He’s obviously a strong actor and a movie star and someone that movie fans int he country are really fond of, but I didn’t see how it could work. I didn’t see him playing a character.”
Now–what would you do, if you were Ford?
Move on to the next role? There are probably lots of directors courting him for their movies.
Instead, Ford went to work.
He studied his character, Branch Rickey. He found archival film of Rickey and listened to hours of audio tape. He read and re-read the script. He did his homework.
Then, and only then, did he insist on a meeting with Helgeland. (OK, he’s a big enough actor to get that meeting, but the rest of the story depends on his preparation work.)
During the conversation, Ford asked Helgeland how he saw a particular scene playing out, because there were two ways it might go.
Then, Ford broke into a private audition, complete with Rickey’s voice and mannerisms.
“Helgeland said, ‘He took on that Branch Rickey voice and he did the whole scene off the top of his head, so he obviously had memorized it,’ Helgeland says. ‘And I was sitting there saying, ‘Geez. He could really pull this off.’”
From the movie, "42."
OK, Mr. Big Actor, Mr. Harrison Ford. If YOU can do that much prep to get a part, I can work hard for my proposal, my audition. I can do the research, create a viable Table of Content sna dwrite that sample chapter. And I will work hard enough to nail it. Because I want this book.
Is it the sense of experiencing reality that makes movies so compelling? Technological advances in film, such as sound, color, widescreen, 3-D, and now high frame rate (HFR), have offered ever increasing semblances of realism on the screen. In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, we are introduced to the world of 48 frames per second (fps), which presents much sharper moving images than what we’ve seen in movies produced at the standard 24 fps. Yet many viewers, including myself, have come away with a less-than-satisfying experience as the sharp rendering of the characters portrayed is reminiscent of either old videotaped TV programs (soap operas, BBC productions) or recent CGI video games. What features of HFR create this new sensory experience and why does it appear so unsettlingly similar to the experience of watching a low budget TV program?
One factor that can be ruled out is the potential difference in flicker rate. Moving images are of course created by the rapid succession of still frames, and thus the flicker or on-and-off rate must be fast enough so that we do not perceive any change in illumination between frames. With early silent films, the flicker rate was less than 16 fps, and a noticeable flashing or flickering was apparent (hence the term “flicks” to refer to these early movies). Since the advent of sound, the standard has been 24 fps, though the flicker rate is increased with the use of a propeller-like shutter that spins rapidly in a movie projector so that a movie running at 24 fps actually presents each frame two or three times, thereby increasing the flicker rate to 48 or 72 fps. Thus, with respect to flicker rate we have always watched movies at HFR.
A still from The Hobbit film. (c) Warner Bros.
Two factors have motivated the current interest in HFR. The obvious one is that actions recorded at more rapid frame rates, such as a car chase shot at 48 fps vs 24 fps, would reduce by half the distance objects move across successive frames. With HFR we are presented shorter increments of movement, and our brains need not work as hard to extrapolate apparent motion across frames, which may result in a smoother sense of motion. I, however, do not think that it is this between-frame difference that is driving our sensory experience as we watch The Hobbit. A second, less known factor, is that the movie was shot at a faster shutter speed than movies shot at 24 fps. Filmmakers have a rule that states that the shutter speed at which each frame is shot should be half as long as the frame duration. Thus, most movies we’ve seen have been shot at 24 fps with a shutter speed of 1/48 sec for each frame. Those of you who have played with photography know that this shutter speed would produce rather blurry images when the camera is hand held. On a tripod, a movie filmed with this shutter speed would show fast moving objects (e.g., cars) with a noticeable blur. When movies filmed at 24 fps are shot with a faster shutter speed and less motion blur, actions appear jerky and unnatural.
The Hobbit was filmed with a shutter speed of 1/64 sec, which produced less motion blur and thus sharper images compared to movies shot at 24 fps. At the faster frame rate, the jerkiness associated with presenting sharp images at 24 fps is largely reduced, though I did notice that on some occasions large camera movements and fast movements of actors appeared stilted and unnatural. A psychological study by Kuroki and colleagues showed that in order to perceive naturalistic movements with sharp moving images (i.e., no motion blur) it is necessary to use frame rates of 250 fps or faster. Interestingly, the shutter speed used for The Hobbit closely matches that used for old videotaped TV programs, which were filmed at 30 fps with a shutter speed of 1/60 sec. I suspect that it is this close match in shutter speed (and thus similarity in image sharpness) that creates the impression of viewing a soap opera when we watch Bilbo Baggins and company.
In the future, after years of experiencing HFR movies, will we be able to appreciate the more realistic renderings garnered by this new technology? Will a younger generation without prior associations to videotaped TV programs be enamored by the sharper images? Time will tell, though I’m skeptical. HFR does offer a more realistic rendering than what we’ve previously encountered at the movies, and further advances may help to refine its use. Yet do we really want to have an entirely realistic portrayal? In most cases that would mean having the experience of sitting next to the director watching actors on a sound stage with artificial lighting, which is exactly the impression I had while watching Bilbo backlit by what was supposed to be moonlight. Instead, we may end up preferring a softer image which maintains the illusion of being engaged in an adventure with our favorite fictional characters and partaking in a wonderfully unexpected journey.
I wish I was announcing this for The Empyrical Tales, but sadly I'm not. I am, however, happy to say that another author friend has a movie in the works!
Keith Rommel asks:
How often do you get a look at an independent writer's work being considered for a movie in California? The name of the novel is The Cursed Man by Keith Rommel. Here is an audition clip for the role of the antagonist, Dr. Anna Lee.
James L. Perry is the producer and has been working hard to bring the characters to life. In this scene, Dr Anna Lee is questioning a grounds keeper that works at SunnySide Capable Care Mental Institution. There is a belief that the patient she has come to care for is cursed. The curse he carries is the entity of Death has taken a liking to him and kills anyone that speaks to him within twenty-four hours.
Oh, I fell in love this past weekend. I went to see Brave, in 3D. Well, done Pixar! I loved that the lead characters were both female. I loved that the princess was not pining away for some guy to rescue her. I loved that she was strong willed, independent, and yes, brave. She was a perfect character in that she was smart, yet sometimes fool hardy and also remorseful when she made mistakes. The film really touched me. Not just the storyline, but the fantastic animation also. I had not seen a Pixar 3D film before. This did not disappoint! The hairs on the bear alone made me shed a tear at their beauty. The scenes with Merida and her horse galloping through the forest were incredible. It was just so real feeling. It was a pure visual pleasure to watch!
Since watching Brave, Merida has been on my mind a lot. In discussions with friends about the merits of the film, in debates with other friends on the film concept as a whole, and visually. Her hair is just so fantastic to draw. Sketching her expressions was so fun! Here are a few sketches I did today of her. It was a lot of fun. I plan on doing a full fan art piece very soon when I have time, maybe with her horse!
As the school year winds down for me, it’s easy to get caught up in the last minute whirlwind of final exams, papers, coercing materials returns, and talking my wonderful faculty off the proverbial ledge.
But when I’m really on my game, I begin thinking about the first couple of months of the next school year and cataloging what, if anything, I need to do to lay a foundation for successful programming. Teen Read Week is always an event that sneaks up on me (and I’m on the committee, for goodness sake!) since it usually happens mid to late October and I’m in full project swing by then.
After over a decade of being a school librarian, I can chalk up my success to that much-overused word, collaboration. For me, collaboration just means using the network of relationships I already have with my teachers and students and searching for any new relationships in my community that will help me do my job which, in the case of Teen Read Week, is promoting recreational reading.
My Library Advisory Board and I have already tackled some preliminary brainstorming. Teachers have already been approached for posing with their favorite horror books and these will advertise our offerings and be showcased on the school website. We are going to have a community poll with various horror movies listed and the top two winners will be a “Creature Double Feature” complete with popcorn and blankets to make our own picnic style movie night.
We are also going to produce a short library video (showcased on the library website and the school website, and shown during an assembly to promote our programming that week) interviewing two of our English teachers who teach related classes, Science and Society and Novel to Film, about the meaning and importance of the horror genre. My LAB came up with the idea of also interviewing dedicated gamers who can speak about what they find so appealing about the recent trends in zombie or other horror games. A few book covers and promotion snippets about programming and we’ll have an interesting vehicle for TRW.
When we had our amazingly successful Hunger Games movie premiere party, the most popular stations were the ones where student volunteers taught flame nail polish effects and did Capitol-style makeup on participants. With that in mind, we will be offering a session prior to our horror movie double feature instructing students in horror movie makeup, complete with faux vampire bites, zombie face makeup and gory wounds. My theater faculty have friends in the local community and university theaters who are proficient in these areas and have expressed an eagerness to come and instruct. I imagine we are going to get some great pictures from this instruction!
If you can, begin talking up possible connections with teachers and students so everyone will be ready to leap into the fray of the school year. Join the Teen Read Week 2012 Ning and peruse the ALA Store items with them to help with brainstorming. You can be sure that in October it will be something great that “Came from Your Library!”
A few odds and ends here - hopefully, you may find something useful.
Why is Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days coming out on August 3, with an unofficial title of DWK 3? I can see why they'd like to release it in the summer because of the storyline, but The Last Straw is book three, not Dog Days. No matter, I guess. Kids will like it, but it will annoy the die-hard fans, I think.
Not at all book-related, but if you're mourning the demise of Picnik for creating promotional materials, etc., take heart - PicMonkey may just win you over. Give it a try.
The juggernaut that is the Avengers movie (as opposed to the Juggernaut in the X-Men films) is still rolling. How did it do this weekend? The weekend box office estimates for the U.S. are for $103M. That brings the global total to $1,002,082,000. Marvel has to be feeling pretty good.
In the global market, Box Office Mojo has Avengers as the #11 film all-time. Bigger than any Marvel film before it. Bigger than Dark Knight. Bigger than all but the last Harry Potter. I’d be surprised if it wasn’t #6 or #7 all-time by next weekend. Granted, you’ve got some of the 3D screenings boosting the box office totals, but this is a very, very big film. Avengers has really captured the both the domestic and foreign markets in a way that relatively few films have.
This weekend’s $103M was a 50% drop-off from last weekend. That’s a relatively high drop-off, but then again, opening weekend was a record setter and you just don’t keep that up. Let’s say Avengers drops 50% at the weekend box office for the next 4 weekends. That would add roughly $95M to the Avengers coffers, for something in the neighborhood of $470M domestic box office dollars… and that’s not even counting ticket sales Monday through Thursday for the next month.
This is looking like a top 5 all time grossing film both internationally and domestically. Possibly top 3. It will be tough beating out Avatar and Titanic, but everything thing else seems possible.
11 Ways to Ruin a Photograph, written by Darcy Pattison.
Holidays mean family photos, right? This children’s book shows the extremes to which a kid can go to avoid those photos. The difference is that this girl has a good reason.
THE STORY: “11 Ways to Ruin a Photograph”
When her father goes soldiering for a year, a girl decides that without Dad at home, it’s not a family photo album. Though her beloved Nanny is in charge of the album that year, the girl makes sure that photographs of her never turn out well. It results in some awkward family photos! Photos are blurred, wind blows hair in her face. April rains bring umbrellas to hide behind. Halloween means a mask. This poignant, yet funny family story, expresses a child’s anger and grief for a Dad whose work takes him away for long periods of time. This story for kids is a tribute to the sacrifices made by military families and to those who care for children when a family needs support.
THIS STORY IS A WINNER!
In conjunction with “The Help” movie (www.thehelpmovie.com), TakePart.com (www.takepart.com/thehelp) recently sponsored three writing contests: a recipe contest, an inspirational story contest and a children’s story contest. TakePart is the digital division of Participant Media which aims to bolster a movie’s audience with a message of social change. THE HELP movie campaign emphasized the role of stories in people’s lives. After winning the contest, the story was made into a children’s book.
Notice: This site and the story are not endorsed by or affiliated with TakePart, LLC or the motion picture “The Help” and or its distributors.
I can’t even begin to describe how thrilled I was to learn one of my readers used Tales of Ever for a school project. She was to create a movie poster and made one for Tales of Ever! How awesome is that? She did a super fantastic job. Maybe one day Ever willbe a movie!
Dear Film industry: Your metadata is not granular enough. The MPIAA ratings G, PG, PG-13, and R do not fulfill my needs.
I need information relevant to my particular disinterests. I need to know ahead of time if a movie contains elements that I consider unacceptable. I’m not talking about sex, drugs, or violence. I need to know if a movie contains cannibalism, synthesizers, or Jim Carrey.
Here is the film rating system we really need:
Rated A for An Animal is Harmed
As far as I’m concerned, decapitated human heads can roll across the screen but if a Golden Retriever gets a hurty paw you had better warn me up front.
Rated B for British Accent Faked by American
I’m looking at you, Andie MacDowell.
Rated C for Creepy Child Singing
You know things are going to get bad when a little girl starts pushing flowers around and singing quietly to herself.
Rated D for Dialog by Committee
“Oh aspiring teen heart-throb, I am attracted to your emergent yet non-threatening sexuality!”
Rated E for Escape in front of Fireball
You know that scene in every action movie ever where the actors run very fast from some sort of physics phenomenon which approaches at exactly running speed? Rated E.
Rated F for Fun Filled Frolic
If a review or worse the movie poster itself describes a “fun filled frolic for the whole family”, Flee.
Rated G for Grab My Hand
Oh no, that character is falling off a building! Grab my hand! DON’T LET GO!
Rated H for Hearts Pulled Out
A little warning before the monkey brains is all I ask.
Rated I for Italian Stallion
Does this film contain excessive amounts of Sylvester Stallone or Jim Carrey? Librarian Avengers have determined that it will be Rated I or J.
I really like Home Alone. Though, I didn’t like the sequels much. Okay, I did like the pigeon lady in Home Alone 2. So…… I watched this movie the other day with my six year old and now I hear the Home Alone scream constantly. She screams if her shoe comes untied… she screams at commercials. It was cute in movie, but to live with it 24/7…. not so much. It’s pretty funny to a kid, but to a grown up who has just waited a half an hour in the car rider’s line, it’s a little daunting. It will wear off as the year rolls along, only to be picked up again at next year’s holiday movie viewing. And, as I sit I here writing this, I have a sinister, but funny thought that I just might reenact that Home Alone scream on the day she introduces me to her first boyfriend!!
Yum. Scrumpdiliicious yum. It's been a while since a book capitivated me the way this one has. I gladly bought into the fictional dream on the first page and felt as if I'd finished the best peanut buster parfait after it was over.
I know. I know. I don't usually gush about books, but this one was that enjoyable a read for me. The basic science fiction premise admittedly had me hooked from the start. I am a closet case trekkie. The kind who used to watch the original episodes before going to church each Sunday as a kid. I was looking for balance in my philosophical diet early on.
So when I saw a modern day scifi with a mystery twist, I was in hook, line and sinker. Girl gives up life on earth to be frozen for three hundred years as a spaceship, Godspeed, travels across the universe from Sol Earth to Centauri Earth. She is awoken early while the ship is still en route and almost dies. Others frozens are murdered. She tries to find the killer together with the help of the leader to be, Elder, who is the same age as she is, sixteen.
The science part of the story was just enough to make the ship believable without becoming so overwhelming that I felt as if I was sitting back in physics class. The characters were well-developed. The mystery was believable. And the darkness was an artistic kind of darkness. Not the usual sturm and angst that is so prevalent in so many dystopian YA novels these days.
The book is also told in alternating first first POV between Amy and Elder. It works well to give the reader a sense of the earth left, the ship now, and how foreign that ship would seem to an outside, i.e. Amy (the reader as well). Even the ending was believable in the sense that not everything ends happily but realistically both emotionally and plotwise.
I realize I should say something critical, some point Revis missed or didn't quite hit the mark on. After all, this is a review. So....maybe it's that I wish they wouldn't make the book into a movie because movies are never as good as the books.
For more great reads, hop over to Barrie Summy's site. She's dishing them out with whipped cream and cherries on top!
Today we will be attending the premiere screening of DIARY OF A WIMPY KID at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York. I will admit I am kind of excited. Working on this series as been such a crazy ride and at times daunting. But the best thing that has come from it is our 'Wimpy family" here at ABRAMS. Charlie, Jason, Scott and Veronica, Jacquie, Anet, Michael and Jeff.
At the end of October 2009 Zachary Gordon and his mom Linda had a chance to visit the ABRAMS offices. We had a blast that day even though I can't really recall what happened. Besides a lot of juvenilebehavior and jokes. We had met Zach and the other actors a few weeks before on set in Vancouver.
Here are a few pictures of a few members of the WIMPY team below
Zachary Gordon a.k.a. Greg Heffley visits my office
Charles Kochman (Executive Editor), Jason Well (Publicist), Zachary Gordon (Actor), Chad W. Beckerman (Art Director)
Last week the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie premiered and now there is talk of producing a second film. But how did we get here? It just seems like yesterday that we started work on the cover. Which was over 3 years ago now. The first time I ever heard anything about Diary of a Wimpy Kid was through a PW announcement informing us that Charles Kochman had acquired a book told in cartoons. It was the first time I had seen an announcement like that about a book I was going to be working on before working on it. I had yet to work with Charlie since he was an editor for the Abrams imprint and had yet to work on anything in the Children's Dept. Not knowing what lay ahead there was an air of excitement around this book from the day one. Charles Kochman took a moment last week to reflect back about the movie and how Wimpy Kid came to be.
Charles Kochman: It’s late in the afternoon on Sunday, February 26, 2006, and I’ve been working the New York Comic-Con since Friday. A young man walks up to the Abrams booth and we begin to talk about Mom’s Cancer, a Web comic we’d just published as a graphic novel that was starting to get a lot of attention. He then asks if we would ever consider an online comic that was written for younger readers. “If the material was right, sure,” I say. “I can’t see why not.” The man then hands me a 6 x 9 spiral-bound packet of eighteen pages. There’s a simple line drawing on the front and a title scrawled across the top, Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I looked down at his proposal, smiled, then looked up, the eight year old in me thinking, Why wasn’t there something like this when I was a kid? I offer encouragement, leafing through the pages, and let him know I’d be in touch after I read it and looked at his Web site. The man walks away into the crowd and, as he told me later, called his brother and said, “I just met the guy who’s going to publish my book.” Little did he know, but as I watched him walk down the aisle of the Javitz Center that afternoon, I thought the same thing.
That night I went home, ate, and sorted through my stack of swag from three days at the con. Spread out on my bed were comics, books, posters, postcards, buttons, and proposals, each in its own pile. And then I unpacked Diary of a Wimpy Kid and read the first page and started to laugh. By the time I got to page seven and the Reading Group titles Einstein as a Child and Bink Says Boo, Jeff Kinney and Greg Heffley had won me over completely.
In 9th grade Algebra, I had a very peculiar teacher. He once offered the class the opportunity to memorize and recite a poem in lieu of an exam. Not being a fan of Algebra, I naturally took him up on his offer. (If I remember correctly, I was the only one who did!) And so, in honor of National Poetry Month, I present Lewis Carroll's, "Jabberwocky," quite likely, the only thing I remember from 9th grade Algebra.
JABBERWOCKY (from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872) Illustration by John Tenniel
`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe.
"Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun The frumious Bandersnatch!"
He took his vorpal sword in hand: Long time the manxome foe he sought -- So rested he by the Tumtum tree, And stood awhile in thought.
And, as in uffish thought he stood, The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame, Came whiffling through the tulgey wood, And burbled as it came!
One, two! One, two! And through and through The vorpal blade went snicker-snack! He left it dead, and with its head He went galumphing back.
"And, has thou slain the Jabberwock? Come to my arms, my beamish boy! O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!' He chortled in his joy.
`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe; All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe.
So why do I bring this up? Because I finally went to see Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (Disney 2010) in digital 3D. On the ride to the movie, I recited "Jabberwocky" from memory, but my audience (a teenage daughter) was, sadly, not impressed. She might have listened, however, if she had realized that the plot of the movie is the poem! The Jubjub bird, the vorpal sword, the Bandersnatch - they all make appearances in the movie, which, of course, culminates in the events of the frabjous day.
The movie is a departure from the books, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable and true to the spirit of nonsense in Carroll's books. Johnny Depp was superbly "mad," but with a large dose of human frailty that rendered him immediately likeable. Mia Wasikowska's performance was reminiscent of the innocence and petulance of the original Alice, with a dash of adult courage and bravado. Fans of the Harry Potter movies will surely enjoy Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange) as the Red Queen and Alan Rickman (Professor Snape) as the Blue Caterpillar.
And finally, I have to note the MPAA rating, which tickled my funny bone. How often do you see a PG rating for "fantasy action/violence involving scary images and situations, and for a smoking caterpillar"?
One of my favorite contemporary book series for children is becoming a film! Here's the press release:
Media contact: Laura Rivas Assistant Director of Marketing, Publicity, and Events 617-588-4445; firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE JUDY MOODY MOVIE BASED ON CHILDREN’S BOOK SERIES COMING TO THEATERS SOON
Somerville, MA (May 6, 2010) – Candlewick Press is thrilled to announce that a Judy Moody movie is coming from Smokewood Entertainment, the Oscar-nominated production company behind the acclaimed film “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire.” John Schultz (“Aliens in the Attic”) will direct the film. Kathy Waugh and Megan McDonald wrote the screenplay, based upon the characters in the wildly popular and award-winning Judy Moody children’s book series by McDonald, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds, and published by Candlewick Press. Candlewick will also publish a Judy Moody movie tie-in program in Spring 2011.
The project commences production in August and is being packaged by Creative Artists Agency. Smokewood principals Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness will produce, with Bobbi Sue Luther and Andrew Sugerman executive producing.
Says Candlewick President and Publisher Karen Lotz , "We are mega-Moody thrilled that Judy's hop to the big screen will be with Smokewood Entertainment and their incredible roster of talent. Double R-A-R-E!"
“As a family that reads and loves the Judy Moody book series, it became very apparent to us that they would make wonderful family films,” said Siegel-Magness. “Our company, Smokewood Entertainment, intends to make films with a positive message for a variety of audiences, and the adventures of independent Judy and her family and friends are a perfect vehicle for that.”
Candlewick’s movie tie-in publishing program will feature a select number of titles, including paperback original Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer written by McDonald, based on the screenplay by Waugh and McDonald. Also coming as part of the movie tie-in program will be the full-color hardback Judy Moody Goes Hollywood .
The Judy Moody book series has more than 12 million books in print worldwide and has been translated into 23 languages. Currently there are eight titles in this fun and funny middle-grade fiction series starring the feisty and independent-minded third-grader; plus a series starring Judy Moody’s younger brother, Stink; and two full-color adventures co-starring Judy and Stink. A new hardcover Judy Moody book - Judy Moody, Girl Detective – will go on-sale August 10, 2010.
McDonald is the author of the Judy Moody series, the Stink series, the Sisters Club books, and numerous other titles including picture books and easy readers. She lives in Sebastopol, California. Reynolds is the illustrator of the Judy Moody and Stink books and the author-illustrator of The Dot, Ish, So Few of Me, The North Star, and Rose’s Garden. He lives in Dedham, Massachusetts .
Candlewick Press is an independent, employee-owned publisher based in Somerville, MA. Candlewick publishes outstanding children’s books for readers of all ages; including books by award-winning authors Kate DiCamillo, Laura Amy Schlitz, and M. T. Anderson; the widely acclaimed 'Ologies and Judy Moody series; and favorites such as the Where's Waldo and Maisy books. Candlewick's parent company is Walker Books Ltd., of London, England, with additional offices in Sydney, Australia, and Auckland, New Zealand.
It's official! How to Steal a Dog is going to be made into a movie in Korea!
So, now, which dress should I wear to the premiere?
(You might have noticed that I always use the same photo. That's because it's too dang much trouble to use Photoshop and make a new one.)
Here's the official announcement:
Asian territory film rights to Barbara O'Connor's HOW TO STEAL A DOG, about a recently homeless young girl who plots to help her family move out of their car by collecting on a "Lost Dog" reward poster for a dog she will steal herself, to Hak Jun Kim (200 POUNDS BEAUTY, TAKE OFF) and Samgeori Pictures by Sean Daily at Hotchkiss and Associates on behalf of Barbara Markowitz at the Barbara Markowitz Literary Agency.
Like all fans of this incredible trilogy, I've been anxiously watching the casting process for The Hunger Games film adaptation, set to hit theatres March 23, 2012. As of yesterday, the new trinity of teen films has been cast -- Katniss, Gale and Peeta. Check it out:
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss:
Josh Hutcherson as Peeta:
Liam Hemsworth as Gale:
Honestly, I'm sad. First of all, it makes no sense to me for Josh to be Peeta (hi, blond hair) and Liam to be Gale (hi, brunette), rather than the other way around -- to the point that I thought I read the announcement wrong. Aside from that, none of the actors really fit my idea of the characters. I was really rooting for Hailee Steinfeld as Katniss -- she has the perfect look, and we know from True Grit that she has the attitude. Gale also looks and acts more like Ben Barnes in my head (as do all tall, dark and handsome leading men these days. Pretty sure this is Julie Kagawa's fault.) And, well, I could actually see Liam as Peeta.
But I guess none of that really matters since I've given up on film adaptations of my favorite books -- andThe Hunger Games is my all-time favorite, so it's definitely out.
What do you guys think of the casting decisions? Are you excited for the film? Wary?
Perhaps it's the lousy weather that is making me feel very contemplative but for whatever reason, but I'm toying with the idea of re-writing my one and only film script, "Skate!"
The script was written a number of years ago and based on a personal experience learning to skate as a young girl of eight or nine...maybe ten, who remembers that far back. I wrote the script with the help of a Syd Field "how-to" book and the words and dialogue practically wrote themselves. Love it when that happens! Always consider that a good omen.
Initially, my idea was to do it as a play but the location changes and outdoor settings made it not viable. I suppose it could be done but somehow I envision it as a film.
Actually, perhaps it doesn't even need re-writing and having stored it away for a long time without as much as a glance, reading it now will certainly give me some perspective as to its viability. The mere idea of reading it makes me nervous. Although I always believed it to be good, what happens if in the end it's a piece of junk? What happens if it requires a complete re-do? Do I still have it in me to produce another angle not covered in the story line?
In any case, the first step is to dig it out among my collection of play re-writes. Then I'll place it on the table and look at the cover for a while. Perhaps 10 minutes...maybe more. I'll start at the list of characters and slowly, very slowly turn the pages until I get to scene 1. Most likely I'll take a deep breath, lick my lips a few times and go get something to drink. Keeping your throat wet is very important. I'll take a few breaths and begin:
Atwater, Richard and Florence. 2011. Mr. Popper's Penguins. New York: Open Road.
(first published in 1938) Review copy provided by NetGalley.
I checked out this 1938 classic for several reasons. The movie was just released, it's summer reading season with Newbery Medal and Honor books always in high demand at the library (I prefer to recommend what I know), and after hearing a radio interview with the founder of Open Road Media, I wanted to experience what they have to offer.
So here are my few comments on all of the above.
Fortunately or unfortunately (please tell me which) I didn't get out to see the movie (though I definitely made time for HP and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2! - it was great!). If you did get to see Mr. Popper's Penguins in the theater, please share your thoughts in the comments. Meanwhile, I'm waiting for the DVD.
Mr. Popper's Penguins was a Newbery Honor book in 1939. Times (and children's books) seem to have been simpler then. In my humble opinion, based upon the relatively few older Newbery titles that I've read, there is either a greater level of sophistication in the writing of today's juvenile fiction or the preferences of the esteemed librarians choosing the awards has changed much over the years. That isn't to say newer or older books are superior, just different.
This particular version of Mr. Popper's Penguins, is an e-book published by Open Road Media. They appear to have struck upon a great idea, making classic books available digitally with enhanced content, in this case, "never-before-seen archival material from the authors' estate," or in more common parlance, period photographs of the Atwaters and brief biographical information. Open Road's offerings are available through the usual digital content providers (Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, etc.). I don't see any Open Road offerings from my library's e-book consortium, but they are listed on the publisher page, so perhaps some Open Road titles will be forthcoming via public library download.
Jane Friedman, once the CEO of Harper Collins is the CEO and Cofounder of Open Road Media, a new entry into the brave new world of e-books and digital conten
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I should have known better. When I received a mysterious email with a link to an unnamed video, I should have trashed the thing. It didn’t look like SPAM, but hackers are becoming more sophisticated these days and can transmit a virus quicker than a kindergarten class after a field trip to the consumption ward. Actually, I would have been lucky if it was just a virus. The link led to something far more insidious than that. It led to…
Well, let me start by reminding you that about a year ago I had a run-in with two of the most ruthless book critics on the circuit. You can read about it here. I have since recovered from the incident, but the video below has resurrected all those feelings: the fear, the shame, the hunger to eat a jar of peanut butter and a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips. The only thing I have done in the last 17 hours is sit by a window, sighing and watching the rain trickle down the glass. After watching this, you may be tempted to the same: