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4 Protagonists We Don’t See Enough

by John Bucher (@johnkbucher)

We have a difficult problem in the storytelling world. Writers are told to write what they know. However, most writers that have historically broken through to bring their stories to our screens are white males. As a result, we have had an overwhelming number of stories about them and their culture. Of course, the answer to this problem is to empower more writers who do not identify as white males into the market. Does this mean, however, that writers should only create lead characters that match their own gender identity and ethnicity? Few would see that as the path toward the best storytelling environment, either.

There have been numerous examples of films where a writer has co-opted someone else’s story for great profit and in turn, made a mess of that story, because the writer did not truly understand the culture or characters from that world. That said, there are a variety of ways to approach stories from outside of what we know effectively. Research and interviews from within the culture of the story is a good starting place. Working on the story with a co-writer from within that culture or gender identity is another strong approach. And of course, if you are a writer that resonates with the ethnicity or gender identity of your protagonist, let this serve as an encouragement for how badly we need to hear your stories. While there are a wide variety of roadblocks and pitfalls, there are a number of protagonists we don’t see enough of on screen. Here are four of them.

Professional People of Color

The TV landscape has improved in the past few years with shows like ABC’s Scandal and HBO’s Insecure, but the film world has been slower to embrace people of color in professional roles as protagonists. Athletes, entertainers, and crime figures have all been archetypes that minorities regularly are cast as, but rarely do we see minorities play doctors, lawyers, and teachers. Asian and Indian actors are even more rare in these roles than their African American colleagues and, of course, men far outnumber women in these positions as well. The world is full of men and women from every ethnicity serving in professional roles. More scripts would do well to reflect this, especially with their protagonists.

Parents and Grandparents

It’s no secret that Hollywood has a fascination with youthfulness. Stories about parenthood are often only used as B-stories that complicate the protagonist’s life, making what they really want to do more difficult or humorous. Being a parent is a key part of someone’s identity. Seeing mothers and fathers in new and fresh contexts remains a rarely tapped field of opportunity. Grandparents get even less on-screen time, usually being relegated to tired stereotypes. Even when older actors are centrally featured in a story, it is often to show how they too are youthful. Exceptions do exist and are welcome changes of pace. The upcoming Victoria and Abdul looks to be a promising example from Stephen Frears, the filmmaker that has made a career of telling stories of parents and grandparents, including The Queen and Philomena.

People of Faith

An overwhelming number of people in the world claim belief in a power higher than themselves. However, religious faith is often seen as a weakness in a character or the butt of a joke. While supporting characters in Grey’s Anatomy and The Leftovers have been vocal about their faith, protagonists who believe are often harder to find. Granted, the faith community has an entire genre where every protagonist is a person of faith. However, these films are usually poorly told stories that are only meant to exist in a small bubble of evangelical Christianity. A wide array of faiths exist in the world, yet on-screen protagonists seem to reflect so few of them.

Women Whose Sexuality or Relationship Status Does Not Define Them

The conversation around the sexualization of women in film and television has been going on for decades. Progress has been made, but the discussion has become more nuanced and complex as subjective ideas about how these issues are defined and executed fill the spectrum. Sexuality is an important part of who we are. Stories that explore this should be welcome. However, the paths that lead to exploitation and debasement are many. Even when sexuality is not explicitly in focus, a woman’s relationship to a man is often what defines her in many modern stories. The progress that we have experienced in this area can be somewhat attributed to female storytellers finally getting to tell their own stories. However, male storytellers should not overlook building wholeness into characters simply because women have pushed their way into the conversation. Moving stories forward into deeper realms of beauty and truth is the responsibility of everyone.


John Bucher is a writer, speaker, and story consultant based out of Los Angeles. He is the author of several books including The Inside Out Story and Master of the Cinematic Universe: The Secret Code to Writing in the New World of Media. He has written for entities ranging from HBO to U.S.  Ambassadors. He teaches at The LA Film Studies Center and has conducted story seminars on five continents. He can be reached on Twitter @johnkbucher and through his site, tellingabetterstory.com.

Source: LA-Screenwriter

By | 2017-08-12T01:49:36+00:00 August 9th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: |

Time Warner Beats Q2 Earnings Expectations Helped By ‘Wonder Woman’

Time Warner seems to be cruising toward its $85 billion sale to AT&T — which it expects to close by year end — based on the better than expected results in its Q2 earnings report out this morning.
The box office strength of Wonder Woman at Warner Bros., and ratings at CNN, helped to overcome slightly lighter than anticipated results at HBO.
Time Warner reported net income of $1.06 billion, up 11.6% vs the period last year, on revenues of $7.33 billion, up 5.4%. The top…
Source: DeadLine

By | 2017-08-02T06:47:40+00:00 August 2nd, 2017|Categories: Breaking News, Corporate Affairs, Earnings, Jeff Bewkes, Time Warner|Tags: |

These 4 To-Do List Apps are Perfect for Freelance Writers

Planning on paper suits some freelancers very well…but if it’s not for you, you’ll want to find an app that’s easy to use.

Apps, rather than paper planners, suit freelancers who:

  • Like to work on the go — physical planners can be fairly heavy to tote around
  • Need to assign tasks to other people — perhaps a virtual assistant or a partner
  • Want to add notes or attachments to a task — not easy on paper!
  • Have a lot of recurring tasks — apps can make it effortless to track these

Here are four apps you might like to try out.The first three can all be used on mobile devices (smartphone/tablet), on the web or through downloaded software on your computer. The fourth is computer-only and can be installed on a USB pen if that suits your way of working.

1. Nozbe [$10/month]

(Image from www.nozbe.com)

I used Nozbe for a couple of years, and only recently transitioned to paper planning instead.

Nozbe’s “Pro” plan ($10/month, or $8/month if you want to pay for a whole year up-front) allows for two users, making this a great app if you want to share tasks with a virtual assistant or your spouse.

Although you don’t need to follow David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology to use Nozbe, it is designed with GTD in mind – so you can easily see a list of your “priority” tasks (“next actions”, in GTD’s lingo). Unsorted tasks go into your “inbox”, and from there, you can assign them to a project and (optionally) give them a “category” (like GTD’s “contexts”).

You can add comments and attachments to your tasks, so it’s easy to keep all the information you need in one place.

Nozbe incorporates a calendar, which will show all your tasks that have a due date. You can easily drag and drop tasks to different days on the calendar in this view.

2. Trello [free, or $9.99/month for more features]

(Image from www.trello.com)

Trello takes a very visual approach to task management, using boards, lists and cards.

You can easily drag a “card” (which may represent a task or a project like a whole blog post) from one list to another.

For instance, you might set up a board for “freelancing assignments”, with lists representing the different stages of each assignment – e.g. “pitch”, “draft”, “final draft”, “published”.

You can assign tasks to different people, if you’re working as a part of a team – and like with Nozbe, you can add comments and attachments to tasks.

There’s a calendar view in Trello, though you need to use a “Power-Up” to enable it before you can use it. (On the free plan, you’re limited to one Power-Up per board.)

Again, it works in a similar way to Nozbe: you can drag tasks onto different days to reschedule them.

3. Wunderlist [free; $4.99/month for more features]

(Image from www.wunderlist.com)

Wunderlist is a streamlined to-do list app that organizes by “tasks” and “sub-tasks.” It’s designed for individuals rather than teams (unlike Nozbe and Trello, which let you easily collaborate).

You can share whole lists with friends/family, but you can’t assign individual items on a list.

While you can set due dates and reminders for your tasks, Wunderlist doesn’t have a built-in calendar view, so if you want to put your tasks on a calendar, you’ll need to use Google Calendar, iCal, Outlook or another calendar that supports the iCalendar format.

If Nozbe and Trello seem too complex and you just want to track a few to-do lists, Wunderlist might be the best option for you.

4. The Journal [$64.95 one-time payment]

(Image from www.davidrm.com)

The Journal is a much older (though regularly updated) piece of software than the three apps above: the first version was launched in 1996. It’s designed for offline use.

I used The Journal for several years when I started freelancing; I installed it on a USB pen and carried it around when I was moving between different computers. If you don’t have a smartphone (or don’t want to use it for task tracking) and need to or prefer to work offline, The Journal might be a good solution for you.

As you might guess from the name, The Journal has a journaling focus! You can create dated entries (either for journal entries or as a daily calendar).

You can also create your own custom templates to use in your entries. I found the template feature useful when I wanted to have a specific list of tasks on a Monday, a different list for a Tuesday, and so on: I just made a template for each day of the week.

There’s also an undated “notebook” section of The Journal, which you can use as an Evernote alternative. You can use The Journal to post to your blog, so it could work well if you want something that allows you to have a calendar and daily to-do list in the same place as all your actual writing.

There are dozens of apps out there that work in similar ways to the four listed here – and it’s easy to get stuck trying to make a decision.

I’d definitely recommend  you pick something that seems a good fit for you, get it set up as soon as possible and try it for at least three weeks. No app will work for you if you don’t actually use it.

All four tools I’ve included here have either a free version or offer a free trial, so you can give them a go before deciding whether or not to stick with them.

Have you used any of these apps…or is there a different one that you love? Or do you prefer to use a paper planner? Let us know in the comments.

The post These 4 To-Do List Apps are Perfect for Freelance Writers appeared first on The Write Life.


Source: Writer Life

By | 2017-08-02T05:44:55+00:00 August 2nd, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: |

The I Am From Project

Friday, July 28, 2017
Type: Resource
This conversation with George Ella Lyon and Julie Landsman, hosts of the I Am From Project, is about countering divisions of race, culture, and background through poetry, artwork, videos, music, and dance.
Source: The National Writing Project

By | 2017-08-01T18:45:08+00:00 August 1st, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: |

‘The Sinner’ Review: Not Much Virtue In Jessica Biel & Bill Pullman Series

Premiering tomorrow on USA Network and adapted from Petra Hammesfahr’s 2007 novel of the same name, The Sinner unfortunately lacks a certain virtue in today’s crowded television environment.
It stars Jessica Biel as a young mother who suddenly stabs a man to death while at the beach with her family and Bill Pullman as the rough around the edges and no saint himself detective determined to find out why before it is too late. The eight-episode series from Derek Simonds has…
Source: DeadLine

By | 2017-08-01T18:44:50+00:00 August 1st, 2017|Categories: Bill Pullman, Breaking News, DeadlineNow, Jessica Biel, Reviews, The Sinner, USA Network|Tags: |

Film Review: Funky Forest: The First Contact (2005)

SYNOPSIS: A surreal series of loosely connected and often absurd comedic vignettes touching on themes including alien life, relationships, and the dangers of interpretive dance. REVIEW: 2005’s Funky Forest: The First Contact is less an anthology than an arthouse collection of long-form shower thoughts, anecdotes, and tiny fever dreams. Directors Katsuhito Ishii, Hajime Ishimine, and …

The post Film Review: Funky Forest: The First Contact (2005) first appeared on HNN | Horrornews.net 2017 – Official Horror News Site

Source: Horror News

Trailer: This Ain’t Jaws (Adult Entertainment) (2012) Teaser

“Adam & Eve and Hustler have a long history of working together,” said Drew Rosenfeld, Creative Director of Hustler Video. “They have wanted to enter into 3D production, and we have a lot experience when it comes to 3D filmmaking. We have leveraged our synergy and come up with an exciting and entertaining new 3D …

The post Trailer: This Ain’t Jaws (Adult Entertainment) (2012) Teaser first appeared on HNN | Horrornews.net 2017 – Official Horror News Site

Source: Horror News

By | 2017-08-01T18:45:04+00:00 August 1st, 2017|Categories: This Ain't, This Ain't Jaws XXX, Trailers|Tags: |