Saturday, August 30, 2008


Since I have done three differant sketches in the last 24 hours, I thought I might as well share the others with you (in addition to the Fish sketch I posted earlier). The following are three differant characters from the mysterious fan fic I mentioned in a previous post. No, I'm not going to say more about it, except that I am very happy with the way the faces turned out. I don't always manage to get the right faces, but I feel that these pictures really captured the feeling of the characters. (Click for more detail- though neither will be as clear as the actual drawing)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sketch of Fish

An unfinished sketch I did of Fish from "The Shadow of the Bear."
(click to view larger image)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

That is the question...

So, as I mentioned earlier, every now and then I like to take a break from *serious* writing and do a fan fiction or two. It has several benefits- entertainment, amusement, the ability to practice my writing techniques without worrying too much over the end product, and often being able to colloborate with others as well.

My *daytime* writing project is the SotB screenplay, but my *nightime* fun is a fan fiction about which I'm going to remain rather mysterious.

However, my point is that it's giving me a chance to practice the technique of asking "what can go wrong next?"

Now I like conflict. I like drama. I like car chases and people getting murdered and all those things that make up a great book. But every now and then I get overly protective of my main character and say "no, I'm not going to make that happen" even though it would make a more suspenseful story.

The beauty of a story, though, is that as long as you know that your hero (and their romantic interest!) is going to come out alive, it doesn't really matter what you put them through, as long as it drives the story onwards.

For instance, one of my friends suggested having the plane crash in this fan fiction. Now at first I was like "what on earth would be the point of that?" However we were able to work it out so that it pulled the villian in, drove the story on, and created suspense. Would the story still exist without it? Of course. But so far it's one of the most memorable things we've done.

(By the way, we didn't actualy make the plan crash. We figured out how to jump off it, which sounds crazier but works much, much better.)

So my point is...a) when you write fan fiction, use it as an opportunity, not just as entertainment! And b) no matter what you're writing, always ask- "how could things get worse" and "what could be important about the terrible thing that just happened?".

Monday, August 25, 2008

Agatha Christie

Recently I have been in an Agatha Christie mood. I can nearly always enjoy one of her mysteries, so any time I'm particularily stumped for books I head over to the library and check out anything I haven't read yet. Her writing is reasonably clean (though there are still stories that I wouldn't give my younger sister yet) and so I can pick one up without having to worry about running into *nasty* stuff.

What I really love about Christie is that she always takes into account the way her characters minds work. Even though she has written dozens of novels, almost each one has a completely unique character- if not several. It is obvious that during her life time she was, like Miss Marple, an avid student of human nature.

I think that is perhaps why I like Miss Marple better than Hercule Poirot. And I do love Miss Marple. Of course, it's also delightful to think of a little old lady being the one to uncover the culprit...

Although I do hate it when one of my favorite character's ends up being the villain. I'm getting better at predicting them, (now that I know Christie's formula) but I'm by no means perfect. "The Moving Finger" gave me a bit of a scare, but actually resolved itself perfectly. I love her *heroes* and *heroines* when she actually allows them to exist. They are quite natural and lovable.

So which ones have I appreciated most- and why?

Well, it goes without saying that "Murder on the Orient Express" is one of her best. It uses a differant formula than her other books, so is very difficult to predict. The ending is masterful.

Almost unique (and in some ways the complete opposite) is "And Then There Were None." This almost falls into the horror genre, but stays just enough in the mystery realm to retain my affection. Most people I know agree that this is one of Christie's best.

Both my sister and I really enjoyed "Why Didn't They Ask Evens?" This features a pair of younger, novice detectives, and it really is hilarious to watch how they go about solving the mystery. This one threw me for a loop- I was quite stumped as to the answer- and the lightheartedness is a welcome change.

I enjoyed "N or M" for a similar reason, although it featured a pair of middle aged detectives. Again, a break from the genre and very intriguing. I did manage to guess this villian almost from the get go. I liked the inclusion of a young child- babies are always so darling, but rare in mystery novels.

"The Mirror Crack'd" was really interesting because this murder was set in the household of a famous (but nervous) movie star. I love Christie's insights into the strains and difficulties of that kind of fame and artistic work. It gave a good background and twist to this mystery.

I've been reading so many it's hard to keep them all straight...but I did also enjoy "The Moving Finger" which had a lovely hero and two heroines that I very much enjoyed.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Shadow of the Bear Official Blog

I would like to introduce the official blog for my new film, Regina Doman's "The Shadow of the Bear."

I will be posting film updates, as well as more information about the story itself. There will be pictures, and links to other websites connected to the book. Plus other randomly interesting on-set stories that we find interesting.

So come over and check it out! Pictures of the actors will be coming soon!

Prince Caspian DVD Release

I thought it was worth a post to say that the official DVD release date for Prince Caspian is December 2nd. Just in time for Christmas, of course.

Weird. By then I probably will have seen Twilight. When PC was released, I had been certain I would never even read Twilight. How life changes in such short spans of time...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Beauty and the Beast- Pictures

All right, as promised (and requested) here are a few pictures from Beauty and the Beast. In keeping with my blog policy, I've chosen pictures in which the faces were either obscured/distorted in some way, or where only adult faces could be seen. We had a lot of kids in the show, so that means none of the big finale numbers are here. But I think you'll enjoy the taste I give you below!
First is the Beast's entrance after Maurice's arrival:
Second is Gaston and Belle in the song "Me"
Third we see Chip, Mrs. Potts and the Wardrobe
Fourth is the Beast- "How Long Must This Go On?"
Fifth is the title song- two of my favorite costumes!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Announcing the next film project

Well - *takes deep breath* - I guess it's official. My next independant film project will be Regina Doman's "The Shadow of the Bear."

Regina has graciously given me the permission to do what we are currently terming a "student film." She will overseeing and approving many aspects of the production to assure that it remains true to her story.

I am so grateful to Regina for giving me this opportunity, for the actors who have already agreed to come on board this project, and to God for opening the doors to make this happen. This is the one film above all others that I wanted to make- but I never dreamed that I wouldn't have to wait decades to see it happen.

Please pray for all of us involved in the production as we move forwards. I believe that we can do great things with this film- but only with God's help. There are still many obstacles to overcome and many difficulties to work through.

I will be starting another blog in the next few weeks to specifically chronicle the progress of the film. Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Twilight (part two) Possible Spoilers

In this post I'd like to engage those of my blog readers who have read or are interested in reading Twilight.

First off, I'm going to ask those of you who haven't read it- have reading my posts changed your opinions on any aspects of the series? If so, what? Also, what concerns remain unresolved? Is there anything else you'd like to see me cover?

That last question would go for the Twilight lovers as well. Are there any Twilight topics that I have not yet covered, that you would like to see one Christain's opinion on?

Moving on.

1. What first drew you to Twilight? The Vampires? The fact that all of your friends were reading it? The really cool covers? (I admit it. Those covers are breathtakingly cool.)

2. What do you think of Bella? How has your perception of her changed over the series? Like all of us, she isn't perfect, but she really seemed to grow and mature in "Breaking Dawn."

3. How do you view Edward Cullen? Are you one of his fan girls (honestly, now!) or do you simply think he's a cool character? Is he unrealistic? Or does 100 years of self-restraint seem like a plausible excuse for his many qualities?

4. Which of the other vampires is your favorite and why? I enjoy Alice for her spunk, Carlisle for his conscience, Jasper because he's, well, cool, and Emmet because he's hilarious.

5. How has your perception of vampires changed over reading this series? As I pointed out in my first post, I think this "vampire-with-a-conscience" idea makes more sense than traditional "garlic-and-crucifix" vampire idea. Do you agree with that? (Random thought that I've been dealing with- probably influenced by so many Catholic friends. Could a vampire be "cured" if they drank Communion wine? You know- the blood of Christ that eternally satisfies their curse? Could be an interesting story to explore someday.)

6. Did you noticed how the idea of free will is subtly (or not so subtly) played with throughout the series? Essentially, it is all about free will. The free will of the vampires to choose whether they will be good or evil, the binding of the werewolves to the will of their leader or the love of the subject of their imprint, etc.

7. Do you think Meyers pushes too many boundries when it comes to violence, sex, etc? I personally think it really depends on the age range. I think the series is meant to be read by 16+ and it really bothers me that younger readers are among her biggest fans. Breaking Dawn is so not appropriete for 13-year-olds. However, I think for the 18, 19+ audience it is quite tastefully done. I don't read much fiction intended for younger teens- how do you think this compares?

8. Did you find the ending of Breaking Dawn disappointing? Not in the romance catagory- I think Bella/Edward and Jacob/Renesmee were very nicely resolved. But rather with the Volturi. Did it feel wrong to leave them still in power? Or realistic? Do you think there should be a book about Jacob and Renesmee as "adults" challanging the Volturi's power?

9. What did you think of Carlisle's decision to "vampirize" Esme, Rosalie, Edward and Emmett? And Edward's decision to save Bella? Do you think it was right? Do you think that vampires have souls? I find the biggest proof that they still have souls in the fact that they still have consciences and free will. If they didn't have those (as vampires of traditional legand do) I think it would be evidence that they no longer have souls.

10. Has this series changed your thinking in any other ways? The way you view romance? Parenting? Life and death?

Note this- if I get enough interesting replies to this, I will publish and interact with them in another post. So "your name could be here" if you take the time to respond! (I hope you do- I'm pretty intrigued by these questions.)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Breaking Dawn

Some thoughts on "Breaking Dawn"...since it's 1:00 in the morning and I'm not ready to put the computer away.

A lot of people seem to be somewhat dissatisfied with the plot twists. And I will warn you, Meyers breaks a LOT of rules in this book. Not moral rules (of course) but writing rules. Like letting your main characters get married when there are still 600 pages to go. *gasp*

Of course, anyone who knows me, knows that I love it when the hero and heroine actually manage to start married life before the story ends. It's so realistic. Young people can get such odd views of romance when "the wedding" is considered equivilant to "happily ever after" or "the end." Because, of course, neither is true. It's the beginning of a long and hard journey.

So I was thrilled when Bella and Edward- (oops, did I say that this was a spoilerific review?)

When Bella and Edward tied the knot right away. Lovely wedding scene...confrontation with Jacob...and then off on the honeymoon.

Ahem. A note needs to be said again that, though very tastefully written, (all things considered) this is still a book containing sections that are more appropriete for those over 18. Especially because Bella and Edward (surprise!) experiance an unexpected but natural effect of marriage.


Oooh! The other "forbidden" topic in young adult literature. Dont' let your heroine get pregnant- especially when there are 500 pages to go, and especially if she's married!

Huh. Wierd. Again, to me this seems like a totally natural thing to write about. Our grandmothers got married and had children by the time they were 15, 16 years old. Bella is already nearly 19. I was thrilled that despite the "vampires can't have children" thing, Meyers still managed to figure out a plausible way for Bella to get pregnant with Edward's child.

What was rather surprising, however, was Edward's reaction. Though by the end of the book I respected him again, his pressure on Bella to abort the child was disappointing.

Meyers, however, is pro-life, as becomes very obvious through Bella's passionate defense of her unborn baby. Indeed, Bella became much more endearing and admirable to me when I saw her love for her baby- even though her life was at risk.

It also explained many aspects of Bella's character that I think I missed previously. She really does care about other people- sometimes dangerously so. She's been accused of selfishness- but it's never something she's unaware of. She's simply human. In Breaking Dawn we see that her love for others far outshines her love of herself. We've had hints all along that such was the case, but I think a lot of us totally missed them. (She hates parties and gifts and having attention drawn to herself. We just thought she was being silly.)

Then of course there is the other Jacob-imprinting-on-Renesmee part that really we should have been much more prepared for. After all, didn't Meyers quote Wuthering Heights half a dozen times during Eclipse?

Renesmee herself is one of the most unexpectedly delightful elements of the book. She is such an endearing character- and provides the pivotal plot point for the confrontation with the Volturi. (why can I never spell that right? I'm much too tired to check, so have pity on me for once.)

In many ways I think Meyers has gone much further in plot progression than any of her previous books. Sure- the first book we had the "in love with a vampire" aspect, and in the second book we had "love triangle including a werewolf" aspect. Still, Meyers has never been able to manage the intricate plots of- say, J.K. Rowlings.

I say this because I have to be honest. Rowlings and Meyers have been compared a lot, but their writing is very, very differant. As it is, I think HP will be the series to go down in history as a great youth classic. The world it imagines, the characters it creates, and the plot it weaves are just a notch above most of what is out there.

Including Twilight. But that doesn't meant that Twilight isn't worth reading, or that I won't someday hand it down to my own mature daughters to read (whenever they appear). It just means that it probably wont' be included on school reading lists the way HP has been.

And, while I'm playing the critic, I must say that Meyer's biggest failing is the length of the books. Meyers, like most females, enjoys lots and lots of details. Breaking Dawn could have been at least 100 pages shorter without breaking a sweat (okay, maybe a little one). Most of the female readers won't mind it, but the guys and the adults will be a little bit annoyed by how many pages go by when nothing really important happens.

It is important- that's just the point- but it's hard to see. It's hard to understand how- even with vampires around, a book whose's most dramatic moment is a birthing scene could really be that fascinating.

And yet- it is. Which is why I'm rereading it now- without rereading the other books first. I will eventually, but Breaking Dawn will probably always be my favorite.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Beauty and the Beast- It's here!

Tonight was our second WONDERFUL performance! Despite some rain clouds in the sky (translated = we couldn't see the sun) and some actual sprinkles, the storm held off and we were able to go on with the show.

Last night (opening night) I was back stage, making sure that all the costume changes went smoothly (there really wasn't a lot to do- everyone except the Beast has enough time to get through their changes themselves- so I just sat around a lot). Tonight I actually got to sit out front and watch the entire show. It was so amazing! I can't wait to get better pictures of the set to show you- it is phenomenal. We use the roof in some of the sections, and we have this huge castle wall and turrents and windows and...yeah...

And you've already seen some of the costumes, but wait until the better pictures arrive!

All of our actors are SO amazing. We have every shape, age and size and every single one of them is thrilled to be there. Not just the actors, but the stage crew and the parents who do concessions and crowd management and photos and everything. It takes a LOT of people with a LOT of enthusiasim and love to do a show this good on a purely voluntary basis.

My thanks to you all for patiently allowing my blog to be consumed by the show. I'm afraid that my life has consisted pretty much of the show and work. I've spent more waking time on the set than at my own house in the past two weeks! But it has so been worth it. This has been one of the best summers of my life.

And now- two more shows, pictures, and a cast party! Hurrah!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Beauty and the Beast Costumes- Update 6

Salt is nearly finished! I just have to make him a sash....(actually, that will be the only thing I've actually physically made for him. Everything else I just directed.)
Disclaimer- again, I did nothing on the plates except tell them what colors to use. This musical is far, far too big for one person to do. It takes a village! (I'm quoting a fellow cast member there)
Here is one of the beautiful shiny spoons we are borrowing from a local community theatre!
On Saturday the "Beast" and I spent a lot of time working on his hands and feet.
I'm pretty pleased with what we've come up with.

Dress Rehersal tonight! Lots of pictures coming then!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Twilight (part one) Non-Spoiler

"But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest therof thou shalt surely die." ~Genesis 2:17

It was the fact that this verse started out Stephenie Meyer's book "Twilight" that ultimately was responsible for the four books sitting next to me as I type this. It was the philosophical/spiritual question of "can anything be ultimately good or bad- even a vampire? Don't we all have a choice?" that intrigued me enough to pick up the first book and start ruffling through chapter one. It was reviews from other Christains that pointed this out and made me think that, rather than glorifying something that was evil, Meyers was actually taking a much more realistic approach to the subject of vampires than we humans have for the past hundred years.

Let me be clear. I hate the vampire myth. I only got halfway through Dracula and did not sleep well at all that night. But thereine lies the differance. Dracula and his creations have no choice about their evilness. They simply are demonic creatures. And yet, even demons made a choice, long ago, to follow Satan rather than God.

So what possible reason could there be for a young man, by name of Carlisle, to automatically become evil simply because he was bitten by a vampire that he was trying to drive out of London? None. Absolutely none. His physical needs (to drink blood) and looks (pale skin, etc) might change, but ultimately he still has a conscience. He still can choose "what is right over what is easy" (to quote another fantasy sage).

And Carlisle Cullen becomes the head of a vampire family that strives to live as "vegetarians", drinking animal blood rather than human's. Carlisle himself forces himself to become immune to the scent of human blood so that he can use his vampire strengths to save the lives of humans as a doctor. Whew! Talk about sacrifice!

And there are benefits to this lifestyle. Most vampires, because of their bloodlust, are unable to form any kinds of bonds besides those with their "mate." However, the Cullen family not only consists of three pairs of mates, but also of adopted parental and sibling relationships that are just as strong (or stronger) than those in a regular human family. They are unique in the vampire world- but ultimately, I believe they will lead the way for a world-wide conversion. (Nope. This isn't a spoiler, because even in book #4 it doesn't actually happen. But I personally believe that it will.)

All of this is what has been so captivating about this series. I point this out because I'm not the sort of person who would read something because it has vampires in it (quite the contrary) or because it has a wonderful teen romance story (again, the contrary).

But for those of you who might be frightened off by rumors of extreme Romance between Bella and Edward...yes. It's there. But it's not nearly as consuming as I expected. Or at least- as unrealistically consuming, especially once you move beyond book one. Bella and Edward both mature and change and believe me, once you read "Breaking Dawn" you will not have a shred of annoyance left with either of them. Well, perhaps old habits will die hard, but Bella Swan-

Nope. I'm not going to talk about Bella here. I'm going to do more reviews in which I don't have to be spoiler free and I can really go in depth on the character issues.

For now, I'm going to issue a general warning that this is a mature series. Sure, it's morally cleaner than a lot of stuff there (no pre-marital sex, or descriptions of sex, very resistant to murder of the innocents, pro-life, etc) but that doesn't mean that it doesn't deal with some very adult issues. It's a series that starts out fairly light, but, like it's characters, grows, darkens, and matures. While book #1 is appropriete for 16-year-olds, I would highly recommend that Breaking Dawn be reserved for the more mature.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Beauty and the Beast Costumes- Update 5

Here is another brief update! We have certainly accomplished more than what is pictured below, but I'm simply running out of time to take photographs! Anyhow, below you can see the nearly (but not quite) finished dress for Mrs. Potts:
Here is a green dress we borrowed from a local high school, coupled with our own mob caps and frilly aprons. (Only one of the Silly Girls would be silly enough to wear an organza apron that is completely impractical!)
Lumiere's coat! Pretty much done!
Two vests- one of the few projects which I didn't have to do much overseeing for. My "second in command" (who did last year's show) took care of cutting and overseeing these. Like the covered buttons? I love covered buttons...(okay, so I was in charge of the covered buttons...they are so easy to delegate to those who don't have much machine experiance. I think my crew did a lovely job!)
The show opens in 5 days!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Which Classic Heroine are You?

Here is a very popular quiz that I made some time ago, long before I had a blog. There is also a male version- Which Classic Hero are you.

So- take it, and leave a comment below to let me know who you turned out as!