Thursday, December 26, 2013

Virginia Woolf, To the River

by Bill Johnson

To the River is a short video about the creative life and death of author Virginia Woolf. It features photos from her life and a voice over by actress Lizzy Shannon. The video explores Virginia's feelings about creativity and marriage, using quotes from her life. It can be viewed at YouTube.

I wrote the script and edited the video, which is the first in a series. The next author will be Oscar Wilde, then Mark Twain.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Perceiving a Director's World View

by Bill Johnson

The Great Beauty, written and directed by Paolo Sorrentino, is about an aging author who wrote one book when young that gave him entre into the night life of Rome. His barbed wit and interviews eventually made him an arbitrator of what made a party cool (his presence) or not cool (his absence).

Reviews call the film Felliniest because of the set up (creatively stuck main character, similar to the director in 8 1/2), and visual references to Federico Fellini films, a young girl around jaded adults and a reference to a sea monster (La Dolce Vita).

In Beauty, the opening third of the film has a surface resemblance to Fellini, but a comparison of the two directors and their work reveal a difference in the mind-set of the directors. Fellini loved people, and his films reflect that; the art of his films reflect that. Paolo is more artist as observer. He creates beautiful, lovely images, but they lack that underlying warmth.

An example of a Hollywood film described as Felliniest is Big Fish, directed by Tim Burton. Again we have the same kind of images (an adult son learns that his father's apparent boastful, fanciful lies had some basis in reality), but one character is set up to be assaulted in a kind of standard, he's standing in the way of the main character so he deserves to be beaten up, that conveys a lack of warmth for the characters in the film.

Because Fellini was a great artist and film maker, his techniques down to the composition of his scenes is often copied by others.

When I read manuscripts, particularly troubled manuscripts, I often find that the writer is creating a work to act out their inner drama, but failing to realize they are the sole audience for their work. They aren't reaching out to connect to an audience. The result is stories that have vague main characters (who, as actors, have their back turned to the audience while they perform for their creators).

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Shopping With My Girlfriend

It was a boutique, mostly women's high end clothes. Most of the men were wandering around aimlessly or following three feet behind girlfriends and wives. The women were so focused they seemed to be guided around the shop point by point by lasers, while the men had a look in their eyes that said, "Tarqet Acquisition Failure; Abort Mission, Abort!"

I found a comfortable chair to sit in and ignored the Abort Mission messages.

I don't shop. I go into a store to buy something and get out as fast as I can. Unless I'm buying JoJos. That's something that can't be rushed. Or Diet Soda. In restaurants I ask to sniff the cork to make sure I'm getting a good vintage.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Authors Road Interviews George R.R. Martin

As we’ve traveled the country talking with writers and experts on authors, we’ve come to understand that this remarkable group is first and foremost storytellers. Since earliest times, these are the people in our cave-clans, tribes, castes and social circles who have that special gift to enrapture, instruct and inspire us with tales of myth, truth, daring and insight.

George R.R. Martin is one of the world’s modern storytellers who has for years spun his legends and kept us watching, listening, and reading. He has been telling fantastical tales since he was a child, and his genres are most often fantasy, horror, and science fiction. His mediums have included comic books, short stories, bestselling novels, and episodic as well as epic television programs and series starting with Twilight Zone and continuing to the current HBO blockbuster series, Game of Thrones. And his art has been acknowledged with bestselling worldwide sales, and numerous awards, including his selection in the 2011 Time 100, those people the magazine named as the most influential people in the world.

This last summer we had the great fortune to visit Martin at his writing studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We filmed our interview with him in an elegant room with two walls filled with dioramas of miniatures engaged in medieval war, science fiction disasters, and flights of fancy – a fitting backdrop for our talk.

We are so very pleased and proud to share with you our interview with our 38th writer, George R.R. Martin.

And more:

Recently the tables were turned on us as we were the subject of two media interviews. If you’re interested in hearing us, or reading more about us, please check out the following:

On Oregon Public Radio’s, Think Out Loud:

And in a Portland Tribune newspaper, Boom:

And last, to one and all: Thanks for your continued support and encouragement, and our fondest wishes to all for a Most Happy New Year.

George, Salli & Ella

Next Up: Bestselling author and writing professor,

Pam Houston

Thanks for . . .

. . . joining us . . .

. . . on the road!

Authors Road