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Aisling D. "artist and author" RSS Feed (Portsmouth, NH USA)

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Pixar Storytelling: Rules for Effective Storytelling Based on Pixar's Greatest Films
Pixar Storytelling: Rules for Effective Storytelling Based on Pixar's Greatest Films
by Dean Movshovitz
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.71
2 used & new from $17.71

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars These "rules" aren't new. NOT from Pixar, or anyone who'd worked with them. Not proofread. Disappointing., June 19, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this book in print. Seeing the high price -- and the five-star reviews, despite it -- I expected some great, unique insights from someone who'd worked with Pixar, and perhaps some wonderful color illustrations from Pixar films, highlighting how they craft their stories.

When the book arrived yesterday, I saw that neither were true.

1) The book reads like a good, undergraduate thesis. It highlights several classic storytelling (and screenwriting) tropes and plot construction methods, with lengthy, scene-by-scene examples from almost every Pixar hit film, ever.

2) The printed book was published in color, which required a higher-than-average selling price. However, the only only interior illustration is a color photo of the author, plus blue text for the chapter numbers.

Another reviewer has mentioned the fact that this is good information, but amateurishly presented.

I agree. These "rules" are solid, familiar points I've read over & over again in excellent books by Jeffrey Alan Schechter, Blake Snyder, Shawn Coyne, Larry Brooks, and others.

And, as a Pixar and Disney fan, I'm kind of appalled that the book's title and thumbnail cover image (with the Pixar-ish desk lamp) suggest that the author has some connection with Pixar. It's why I bought this book.

He doesn't.

Sadly, the presentation issues don't end with the misleading title, subtitle, and cover design.

When I opened the book, instead of a title page, I saw a full page headed COPYRIGHTS. Yes, with an S. And then the standard copyright blurb. It's a little difficult to get past such an obvious typo in letters a half-inch tall.

The second page...? A disclaimer that concludes: "The author and publisher are not affiliate [sic] with Pixar or Walt Disney Animation Studios." Another glaring typo, and no mention that Pixar and related names are trademarked. (That's odd, for someone who makes his own copyright such a high priority.)

I never found a title page.

However, despite the book's amateurish first impression, I was STILL hoping to read some wonderful insights about storytelling.

Some of the information in the book is okay. Mostly, it's a fan's opinions of how Pixar tells engaging stories.

He makes some good points. Far more are confusing, at best. Due to grammar and punctuation problems, I frequently had to stop and re-read sentences, sometimes several times, to understand what the author intended to say.

A bigger problem: the author seems to assume we're familiar with every Pixar film. I've seen most, but not all of them.

So, when the author talks about "the scene where....," in a movie I haven't seen, I'm clueless. Whatever point he was making is diluted. In some cases (even if I've seen the film multiple times), his points entirely elude me.

When the author came up with this book concept, it was probably seemed like a good idea. If he rewrites this, possibly from the ground up, it might work. I'm not sure.

As I see it, these are the book's main problems:

- The cover and title need to make it clear this is NOT a Pixar book. The author ISN'T sharing an insider's views from Pixar's story creation process.
- This book's basic content -- the "rules" -- aren't new. Others, especially Schechter and Snyder, have explained them more effectively.
- The author seems to assume we'll "get it" if he simply references Pixar scenes. That may work well in conversations he's had, but in many cases, even when I'd seen the related film many times, I still wasn't sure of this author's points.
- This book needs proofreading to correct confusing grammar and punctuation. It probably needs thorough editing, too.
- Improved formatting could provide a better first impression and improve the reading experience. Justified margins are just one improvement I'd suggest.
- This book's price is far too high. Had the author been willing to leave out the full-color photo of himself, a b&w interior would have allowed him to price this book more appropriately.

"Pixar Storytelling" isn't entirely awful, but it's NOT a five-star book. The best I can give it is two stars, and that may be too high.

I'm returning this book to Amazon.


Anxiety Ease Synergy Blend Essential Oil (previously known as Calming) by Edens Garden (Lemongrass, Sweet Orange and Ylang Ylang)- 10 ml
Anxiety Ease Synergy Blend Essential Oil (previously known as Calming) by Edens Garden (Lemongrass, Sweet Orange and Ylang Ylang)- 10 ml
Offered by Edens Garden
Price: $10.65

4.0 out of 5 stars Fast relief from anxiety, and a lovely fragrance., June 5, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
A whiff of this is all I need, to unwind at the end of a stressful day. I absolutely love the fragrance, and -- whether or not it's placebo effect -- I believe it really does help me relax.

I haven't tried more expensive products, and -- for now, anyway -- don't feel any need to.

This product delivers a sense of serenity at a reasonable price. And, so far, it's been effective every day for months.

It's not super-flowery, and I love that it smells "real," unlike petroleum-based air fresheners and candles. (I can't even go near most candle stores in shopping malls. The fake smells really annoy me. This product is the opposite of that.)

I keep my bottle near my desk, so I can pause and take a refreshing, stress-relieving break whenever I like. I haven't tried a diffuser yet, but that's probably in my future.

If you're exploring alternative ways to find relief from anxiety, this is a great place to start.


Car Air Purifier, FRiEQ Car Air Freshener and Ionic Air Purifier | Remove Dust, Pollen, Smoke and Bad Odors - Available for Your Auto or RV
Car Air Purifier, FRiEQ Car Air Freshener and Ionic Air Purifier | Remove Dust, Pollen, Smoke and Bad Odors - Available for Your Auto or RV
Offered by LowerPriceUSA
Price: $39.99
4 used & new from $20.99

4.0 out of 5 stars If you have seasonal allergies, this will give you fast relief inside your car., June 5, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is our third air purifier/ionizer, and it's the best we've tried in our car.

It's so quiet, you'll barely hear it. (It's not a fan. It works with the normal circulation of air in your car. That's enough.)

The blue light is attractive. The design looks elegant.

However, the most important part is: it WORKS. The difference may be subtle to many people, but if you suffer with seasonal allergies, you'll love this in your car.


Command BATH16-ES-E 1 Holder 1 Medium Strips Razor Holder
Command BATH16-ES-E 1 Holder 1 Medium Strips Razor Holder
Price: $5.97
18 used & new from $0.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice looking, easy to install, and holds up well in daily use, for years, June 5, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
We bought this for our shower, to hold razors. We've placed it immediately underneath the shower caddy (which hangs immediately below the shower head).

It was easy to assemble and place on the wall. It looks nice. And, the adhesive is holding perfectly, even with shower water (and some soap) dripping down on it, daily.

In addition, the price of this was lower than at local stores... where they were out of this style of holder, anyway.

If you're thinking of using a holder like this in your bathroom, don't hesitate. Every Command product we've bought (and used) in our shower has been an excellent value and held up nicely. That includes some we've been using for over two years.


EPS Replacement Canon 126 Black Toner Cartridge for Canon LBP6200D
EPS Replacement Canon 126 Black Toner Cartridge for Canon LBP6200D
Offered by MANGOKET
Price: $19.87

4.0 out of 5 stars My first experience with a non-Canon cartridge: EPS is a great value, and the quality is excellent., June 5, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I was a little nervous, buying this cartridge for my Canon LBP 6200d, but a new Canon-branded refill was going to cost more than buying a completely new printer. (I know... where's the logic in that?)

I should not have worried. I've been using this for weeks, and -- as an author -- I print a LOT of pages. I go through a ream of paper at least once a month, and sometimes much faster.

So far, this printer cartridge has been working well. It installed effortlessly, and -- after adjusting my printer settings a little darker than I did with the Canon cartridge -- every copy has been crisp, black, dust-free, and smudge-free.

After this experience, I'd never consider ordering a Canon toner cartridge. This EPS cartridge costs less than 1/3 what I'd spend on the Canon equivalent, and I'm seeing no difference in print quality and how well this cartridge is holding up.


Where To Invade Next
Where To Invade Next
DVD ~ Michael Moore
Price: $14.96
25 used & new from $10.96

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great information, but - if you're new to Michael Moore's work - 'Sicko' is a better place to start, June 5, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Where To Invade Next (DVD)
It's a Michael Moore film, so that means many people have made up their minds about this film, even before they've seen it.

And, in true Michael Moore style, he's starting with an awkward concept to tie his segments together. That's almost embarrassing at times.

However, I can forgive him those moments, because this information is stunning. I'm not sure it's as much of a punch to the gut as "Sicko" was, or as profound as "Capitalism," and I think "Sicko" is a better starting point if you're new to Moore's views.

Nevertheless, after seeing the first 15 minutes (or so) of this film, I went around the house muttering, "Italy... ITALY, for heaven's sake!" (My daughter said my muttering reminded her of a similar line in the romantic comedy movie, "Only You.")

If you're a Michael Moore fan, see this movie. It's more of the same, but ends on a note of optimism about America, and -- for anyone with an ex-pat frame of mind -- it will give you fresh inspiration.


New 2x3 United Kingdom Flag British Union Jack UK Flags
New 2x3 United Kingdom Flag British Union Jack UK Flags
Offered by Socal Flags
Price: $5.49
12 used & new from $0.75

4.0 out of 5 stars For indoor or outdoor display, this flag is attractive and made to last., June 5, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a great, decorative flag. It's sturdy and should hold up well if you display it outdoors, no matter what the weather.

For the price, it's an excellent deal. The grommets are gold-finished and look nice, even if they're not precisely placed. (They're good enough.) The colors are bright and crisp. The stitching is solid and durable.

It's a good flag for indoor or outdoor use, and a fine value for the low price.


The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy: The Revolutionary 1805 Classic
The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy: The Revolutionary 1805 Classic
by Hannah Glasse
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.95
60 used & new from $5.65

3.0 out of 5 stars Great for historical research, terrible for recipes you'll actually use, June 5, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
As a historical reference to how people cooked, long ago, this book is excellent. For that, I'd give it five stars. I'm delighted with it.

However, if you're planning to cook an authentic, early 19th-century meal, this book may not be your best choice. Not unless you're an experienced cook, have a modern cookbook next to you, and you're comfortable substituting ingredients.

For example, the recipe for a cherry pie says:

"Make a good crust, lay a little round the sides of your dish, throw sugar at the bottom; and lay in your fruit and sugar at top..."

Yes, that's it. No measurements. Nothing about preparing the cherries, and so on.

And the cooking directions...? They're similar: "let it stand a good while in the oven after the bread is drawn." No temperature settings, and no time estimates.

Okay, an experienced cook can probably get measurements, preps, and cooking details from any "simple ingredients" cookbook. But... would you really want to go to that much trouble?

If you're looking for actual recipes (modernized, with familiar ingredients), I recommend something more like Maggie Black's Jane Austen Cookbook - The Jane Austen Cookbook or the cookbook related to Pride & Prejudice, The Pride and Prejudice Movie Cookbook.

For historical reference, this book is great. I'm glad I bought it. However, keeping the book as close to the original as possible, the list of what's in the book (at the front) doesn't include page numbers. Initially, that was frustrating. I kept skimming the book, looking for specific kinds of dishes.

(The good news is: there's an Index at the back of the book. I found it fairly quickly.)


The Love Plot: How to Plot and Outline Your Romance Novel (The Plot Chronicles Book 2)
The Love Plot: How to Plot and Outline Your Romance Novel (The Plot Chronicles Book 2)
Price: $3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars If your romance novel plot has stalled, READ THIS BOOK!, June 5, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Thank you, Ms. King! If I were rating this book on how useful it was, plotting my newest book, I'd give this ten stars. Really.

This book offers a solid approach to plotting and outlining a romance. If you're familiar with "hero's journey" and "save the cat" story beats, some of this book will seem familiar.

Don't let that fool you.

In my case, the best thing about this book is the romance template -- the "sweet sixteen" -- King presents around the mid-point of this book.

I had been struggling with a plot that seemed to be spinning its wheels. I could NOT figure out what was wrong with it. The premise was well-developed. The characters had depth. The setting was clear in my mind. My plot outline fit every template and formula I'd ever read, perfectly.

So... why did everything past the first couple of scenes seem utterly flat?

When I read King's template -- especially what she suggests as the opening (not necessarily the first full scene) -- I saw exactly what I'd been doing wrong.

I was trying to start the story too early. I needed to leap ahead in the action. I needed to start my story at a later point, and discreetly sprinkle the backstory in conversations and reflections. (In other words: no info dump.)

Once I got past that hurdle, I continued following King's outline steps, and the process was as smooth as silk.

Ms. King understands what makes romance different from other genres. She also has a great teaching style in this book, introducing layers of plotting in logical steps so the reader -- beginner to advanced writer -- won't get overwhelmed... or bored.

I'm modifying King's template slightly, since I'm writing short romances. Much of Nina Harrington's advice -- How to Write Short Romance Kindle Books: A 40 Minute MASTERCLASS -- is key, and it can work perfectly with King's insights.

However, if I hadn't read King's book, "The Love Plot...," I'd probably be spinning my wheels, trying to force a story to work, and my book ideas probably would have ended up on the (embarrassingly high) stack of stories I'll work on, someday but not now.


Lord Byron's Bride: Regency Romance (Clean Short Read Regency Romance Book 3)
Lord Byron's Bride: Regency Romance (Clean Short Read Regency Romance Book 3)
Price: $0.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A heartwarming short read for fans of clean, uplifting, Christian romance, June 5, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
If you're looking for a clean, Christian, inspirational romance set in Regency England, this book definitely delivers.

I've been following Ms. McColl's career since her first book, and each that followed has shown improvement. This one takes a dramatic leap forward with deeper characters and an excellent understanding of the grieving process, moving towards recovery.

This is a short read. I completed it in under an hour, and -- for a lunchtime read -- it's uplifting and shares a strong message about the power of faith and trust in God.

Regency purists may find a few historical anachronisms jarring. However, that shouldn't deter most regency romance enthusiasts from reading -- and benefiting from -- the faith-based inspiration of this romantic tale.

Expect a light and heartwarming read, and you won't be disappointed. Charity McColl is fast becoming an author to watch, particularly if you're looking for clean, Christian, inspirational stories.


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