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Helpful Votes: 39

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Free 4GB SD Card with 720p HD Pocket Digital Video Camcorder Red
Free 4GB SD Card with 720p HD Pocket Digital Video Camcorder Red

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I think I'll like this??, September 13, 2010
I was excited to get this little unit. And I think I'm going to like it because just playing around with it I was able to find my way a little. However, the manual is on a mini disc... like my netbook has a place to play that?? The instructions say nothing about plugging in the unit to charge the battery and for someone who might not know you have to do that, it could be a problem. There is no AC adapter which is a bummer. The Start guide has a drawing but nothing to tell you what is what. Like what IS that little silver button by the lens? Guess I'll have to wait until I get to work and put the mini disc in my computer there so I can read the manual. And there is no manual online that I've been able to find, nor do I want to waste anymore time looking for it. I think I really am going to like the unit once I start working with it but... until I can make sure I'm not going to blow it up by doing something really stupid, I'll have to wait until I get to work to find out exactly how it works. But, I do think I'm going to like it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 29, 2012 9:47 PM PST

Mind Your Business: A Hollywood Literary Agent's Guide To Your Writing Career
Mind Your Business: A Hollywood Literary Agent's Guide To Your Writing Career
by Michele Wallerstein
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.76
57 used & new from $4.97

4.0 out of 5 stars Mind Your Business, August 16, 2010
When I first found out about this book I couldn't call Michael Wiese Productions fast enough to get a copy.

You see, for years I've been the howling monkey in the corner yelling at writers, actors and artists to pay attention to their artistic "business."

Author Wallerstein, as a former agent, has a solid background in the field and has drawn her experience to present equally solid information to benefit you. Slanted more for the newer writer she is careful to go into the initial writing of scripts, from basics like character development to working with, or without, a partner. For the more established writer it doesn't hurt to go over this information again now and then, just to make sure your shortcuts aren't turning into shortcomings.

Wallerstein covers pitfalls of the industry and how to avoid them, contracts (oh yes, please do read those sample contracts, they are a prime reason why you need an agent, manager or lawyer working for you) and the need, yes the NEED, for networking, and socializing. Writing may be a solitary activity, but selling your writing is not!

I particularly liked Chapter 19, "Dealing with Hollywood". Read this chapter. Completely, and often. Unfortunately Chapter 22 "The Price of Being a Writer: Are You Worth It?" is far too short.

Which brings me to the one thing I really wish the book had covered. Your "business" end of your career, i.e. taxes (and deductions that you are allowed to take to help offset the cost of being a writer), incorporation (yes, you might want to consider that), budgeting for dry spells, ad infinitum. Yes, most people should know about their taxes, etc. but the truth is, they don't, nor do they pay attention to it. You, by the mere acting of writing, and selling your work, are a business as far as the federal and your state IRS is concerned. Never ever ignore that; just ask the family of "Dune" creator Frank Herbert.

Wallerstein states that writers are well paid for "doing work they love for fees that most people would kill for." Well, yes, and no. Most writers, like the majority of actors, aren't paid fees people would kill for. And, when you break down the hours, days, months and sometimes years that a writer puts into the simple act of writing and rewriting, then multiply the time by socializing, networking, meetings etc. and maybe never seeing a project get done... well, the pay isn't as much as it seems. Especially when agents, managers, and lawyers fees are deducted along with taxes, etc. etc. etc..

But, despite my one objection, I highly recommend this book. Why? Because a writer, newbie or established, needs to know how her business works. As they say, "If you want to win the game you need to know the rules."

Sable Jak

Cinematic Storytelling: The 100 Most Powerful Film Conventions Every Filmmaker Must Know
Cinematic Storytelling: The 100 Most Powerful Film Conventions Every Filmmaker Must Know
by Jennifer Van Sijll
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.05
109 used & new from $10.88

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Writers, look through someone else's eyes., October 2, 2006
What a fascinating book for a scriptwriter to read! At first, you think "This isn't meant for me--it has chapters on camera lenses and camera positions, and wardrobe and sound effects! That's stuff directors and cinematographers and other people work with." From understanding the medium you're working in, comes better work.

Jennifer Van Sijll's Cinematic Storytelling provides 100 film conventions (as mentioned in the full title) in concise, two-page examples. The pages are index card-like in their brevity, but are so well-done there is no need for extra words. First, she lists the filmmaking element, such as "Motion," and gives an explanation. Next, she gives a film example, such as E.T., and explains the scene pictured in stills and how the particular scene conveys the element. If needed, she lists a script note or two and then explains what the dramatic value is of the element. Lastly, she lists a few other films that can serve as examples. The page with movie stills also contains the scene's script passage to show how the element was written. A writer will find the pieces of script excellent examples from which to learn.

Van Sijll's layout and logical progression through the different elements of film, from frame composition to locations and lighting, are easy to follow and almost Zen-like in their simplicity. Despite that simplicity, they do make an impact and stay with you long after you've put the book down. You'll find that when you sit down to write, you'll try and put those elements into your script with just a few well-chosen words (so not to look as if you're trying to direct). There are no exercises or homework and there is no general format information or advice on what the latest trick is to get your script seen. This is straightforward instruction presented in an easy-to-follow way.

After each chapter, Van Sijll inserts a "Chapter Credits by Film Element" index where you'll find a segment on each film she's highlighted. Within the segment, you'll find its release date, writer, director, production company and distributor. It's an unconventional scriptwriting book, for sure, and definitely worth checking out. Van Sijll teaches at San Francisco State University, holds seminars, and also works as a script analyst for producers. I enjoyed this book thoroughly.

Creating Characters: Let Them Whisper Their Secrets
Creating Characters: Let Them Whisper Their Secrets
by Marisa D'Vari
Edition: Paperback
18 used & new from $18.30

5.0 out of 5 stars A new approach to character work for a writer, October 2, 2006
Of all the types of writing books to read, my favorites are those that deal with characters. Marisa D'Vari does not disappoint the reader/writer with Creating Characters: Let Them Whisper Their Secrets.

The first chapter provides a quick, but thorough, examination of Personality Types using the author's own More Personality System(tm), the ancient Enneagram system of personality typecasting, Hippocrates' humorous philosophy, and Carl Jung's theory. If you've ever met someone and felt you'd met his type before (as is mentioned in the book), Chapter One might give you the answer as to why you felt that way.

Chapter Three: How to Summon Characters from Their Magical Spheres is something to be experienced. Obviously, it's of interest to me as I'm fully into fantasy stories and movies, but this chapter is not a dance through the spring fairy rings. It's serious business. All writers experience that moment when a character comes to them, fully-fleshed, ready to fill the blank pages with his story. Chapter Three touches all too briefly on the subject of the collective unconscious, but makes up for it with a lesson on how to nurture your ability to let your characters come to you.

Though Chapter Three is good, Chapter Four: Techniques to Discover Your Character's Inner World, is even better. Many writers prefer to allow a character to develop while his story is being written, and often this creates problems when characters act in ways that don't work. Chapter Four helps you get past this. It also helps you with the backstory so that you not only have enough to work on, but there's enough there for others involved--i.e., actors and directors--to carry the character's personality further.

Another nice thing about this book is that it doesn't have to be read cover to cover; you can pick and choose the chapters. But once you start reading, it's hard to put down. D'Vari has an easy style that reads well. Some of the information included you already know, not because you've read it elsewhere, but because it's so logical that it falls into the category of Collective Memory. For instance, Chapter Six: Coloring Dialogue Via Personality Type is so very accurate. Yet, it offers ideas authors don't always pay attention to. One little trick she mentions is to think of an everyday question, such as "How are you?" and then have a character/personality type answer it. Not everyone is going to mutter the usual "uh, fine ..."

There are, of course, summaries and assignments at the end of chapters. Even if you're someone who doesn't like to do the exercises or assignments in a writing book, don't skim over these pages. Be sure to read them. D'Vari has worded her assignments in such a way that they get you thinking about your characters. Even when you've put the book down, the questions prick at you until you have to give them more time.

Just when you think you've read all you can read about coming up with characters to people your stories, a book comes out to let you know there actually is more information out there.

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