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Winter is here

Last month my family and I moved to Upstate New York, because my husband’s job, and at the present are experiencing our first Northeast winter. To make things more interesting, we’re are living in a region that experiences “lake effect” snow. This happens early in the winter when air flowing over the lake, in this case Lake Ontario, is colder than the water. Which in short makes it snow a great deal. On top of that, we are far enough North where it can get crazy cold, like below zero cold. We can also pick up Canadian radio stations, and the “energy saver” sticker on our new washing machine, included the Canadian version. Which that’s cool, and…stuff…I don’t know.

Now I know that there are people that deal with this kind of stuff every year, they’re used to it, and that’s awesome for them. I, however, am from Texas, and a winter of this magnitude sounds, well unsettling. The fact that will be experiencing this kind of weather first hand, and also expected to function on a daily basis is, to me, about as sad and scary as watching Bucky be the Winter Solider. Especially when I am reminded that we have lived in this house for less than a month, and this is our third snow storm. Hmm..yeah.

So like many people, I use humor and sarcasm as a defense mechanism, when faced with something unpleasant. Hence the purpose of this blog, to share my thoughts and experiences while living through our first New York winter. The good, the bad, the fun and the unpleasant, because this winter will certainly have a lot of “firsts”.

For example:

My husband and I have had to shovel snow for first time in our lives.

Our kids are wearing snow pants to school, never before have we had to buy them that garment.

Well I can say for certain that it will at least be memorable winter.

Until next time,

The Texan

It’s Been A While

Some time as passed since my last blog post. Seems it was easier to post something every week back when I was complaining about winter, avoiding school work, and dreaming about getting to start working on screenplays.

Actually writing screenplays takes up a fair amount of time, and I have come to the conclusion that there just is not enough time in the day for adequate “wasting time” time and “productive time” time. Bummer.

I am of course committed to balancing these out to the best of my ability, filling my days with the following activities:

*Reading The Screenwriters Bible, which is excellent by the way, highly recommend

*With the help of the aforementioned book, I have added 7 more pages to my screenplay just with proper formatting

*Adding more I Love Lucy pins to my Pinterest

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*Enjoying playing a fun screenwriting game called; is my caps lock on, or not?

*Carving my first pumpkin!

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Her name is Mrs. Cat, and that’s her friend, Mr. Pumpkin

*Not enjoying the fact that winter is coming, and here in almost Canada, that means I’m going to be,  at least, slightly chilly ’til about early June

sadsebastian

Until next time,

The Texan

 

77 Pages

So I finished putting “Cambridge” into screenplay format. I got the spacing just right, deleted scenes I didn’t like anymore, added new ones, and made sure it was in the correct font. Then I sat back to marvel at my accomplishment only to notice that it was 77 pages long, which is, you guessed it, too short. At least 15 pages too short to be exact, I might even need 20 more. So I was like..

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Well I guess that was a decent effort. I suppose I could just work at Target, or something.

No.

I don’t like red.

Or khakis.

But it’s too short. Why is it too short? How can I come up with 20 more pages??

And the confident side of my personality was like..

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Uh, you’re going to read back through your screenplay, and find places where you can expand, and we’ll get to 95 pages. Boom! Just like that.

Yeah. Yeah! ‘Cause I’m a screenplay writer, not a quitter! I got this.badass

I got this!

Until next time,

The Texan

 

 

 

Haters

As some of you may know my beloved Dallas Cowboys got their rear ends handed to them by the Denver Broncos on Sunday. There were some bright moments and a few good plays but, they just could not get a leg up on the pile. It was like the running scene at the beginning of Captain America: The Winter Solider, no matter how hard and fast Sam runs he’s just not going to catch up to Steve. To be fair to my Boys and give the Broncos some credit, those dudes from Denver got some mad skills man; for real.

Earlier today I watched a video that the “Dallas Cowboys Hater Nation”, or something like that, had made basically poking fun at fan reactions during different parts of the game. My brother, who is a Cowboys fan by the way, posted it on Facebook, and it was funny; I laughed. Then at the end there were all these people being nasty, using foul language, and showing all these “anti-Cowboys” pictures. And I thought geez, Dallas Cowboys haters are mean.

The Texan would like interrupt this post to write about the Cowboys.

I just love my Boys y’all, always have. They’ve had/have some great players, Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, Demarcus Ware, Jason Witten, and of course my main man…

dak

Don’t worry fellas the season is young, just keep your heads on straight and ignore all those haters.

This blog post will now resume. 

This of course got me thinking about haters in general. They always manage to fly out of the woodwork whenever the thing or person they don’t like does something wrong or losses. They also spend a good deal of their time and energy on something that they seem to hate with a burning passion; not that it’s bad to dislike certain things, everybody has at least one. For example, I don’t like coconuts, the new car smell, or Tom Brady; and I won’t lie, Eli Manning getting sacked is physical comedy at its finest.

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Hahaha. Oh man, and that face he makes when things aren’t going his way is hysterical. Ahem, ‘cuse me…anyway.

Haters confuse me, mainly because they seem to be always talking about/writing about/making stuff about something or someone that they don’t like. Why?? I mean, I want to think about Tom Brady and the new car smell as little as possible. I think it’s waaaay more fun to devote time and energy to things/people I do like. For example, I like Bucky Barnes, cinnamon, and sunshine. Awe, happy face.

Sadly the truth is, haters are gonna hate. It’s just something they do. So while we are on the subject of haters, I thought that it would be a good time to devise a plan or state of mind for dealing with haters. After all I do hope to be a screenplay writer, and if that does happen, I’m sure that there will be people who don’t like me. Awe, sad face. I decided that my method for dealing with haters will be something like this…

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**A special thank you to whoever made this and put it on Pinterest! You’re awesome!!**

Yep. I’m sure that’ll put those haters back in their place.

Until next time,

The Texan

I Had A Dream (rerun)

Hey friends! I’ve been continuing to put “Cambridge” in screenplay format, and it has really helped me slim down some more wordy areas of my existing story; and its kinda fun to figure out too. This is a post I wrote back in May. It’s one of my personal favorites, so I thought I would share it again.

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Y’all I am elbow deep in bachelors degree this week, so I do hope that you will pardon the brevity of this post. But first, a quick update on how my schooling is going. My topic for my capstone paper has been officially approved, and I will be focusing on the English side of things during the events of 1066; particularly Harold Godwinson and the Battle of Stanford Bridge. I look forward to writing the paper but also look forward to being finished with said paper, June 25th could not come fast enough y’all.

I was thinking of something that I could write about that would be quick but also amusing, and decided to tell y’all about this dream I had a couple of weeks ago. It involves the People’s Choice Awards, Sebastian Stan, and some brillo pads, it was pretty crazy. Well maybe not crazy, interesting?, thought provoking?, weird?….hmmm…amusing, yeah, we’ll just stick with amusing. Anywho…with out further delay…

So I was at the People’s Choice Awards and I was wearing this dress, I had seen it on an advertisement on Pinterest the day before. Then in the morning after I told my husband about the dream, I saw the dress on Pinterest again, and was like, “This is it! This is the dress!” And he was like, “Huh.” So I decided to save the picture.

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I had just mustered up the courage to introduce myself to this guy, which was no small feat I assure you.

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Then I look down and notice that my legs are not only unshaven, they basically looked like someone had glued a bunch of these to them.

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Weird..okay yeah, maybe it was a little weird. I don’t remember anything after that, the shock of having brillo pad legs may have woken me up. By the way, I usually don’t remember my dreams, so recalling this many details is unusual. I wonder what it means…

sophia

Until next time,

The Texan

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Ya know its funny, last night I had another dream that featured Sebastian Stan. I was in a school type setting, and he was one my classmates. For some reason, I chose to write my assignment in German. The teacher didn’t know any German so Sebastian had to grade it. I woke up thinking well that was weird…he’s Romanian.

sebastianhmm

Until next time,

The Texan

 

 

 

Advice Hunting

This week I have been working on going over the highlighted sections of screenplay writing books that I read, and also searching the “interwebs” for other sources of sound advice. In Screenplay by Syd Field, he emphasizes knowing the characters, and making sure the lead is active, as in causes things to happen rather than just lets things happen to them. Last night I read an article on a website called http://www.scriptmag.com which had some quality advice of its own for unknown writers; like me:

*comedies should be about 98 pages long….got it

*short narrative, dialogue, and description 4 lines or less….okay

*paint story with words….I have a pallet full of words!

*no “we see”, “we hear”, or “beat”…’kay, but I’ve seen that in screenplays that I’ve read….oh that’s just for “established” writers

*if the scene or piece of dialogue doesn’t move the story forward-get rid of it…right

*get The Screenwriters Bible…oh-kay

*be a secure writer…uh oh, I mean, of course secure writer, I can or might be able to do that….it’s not like I’m an insecure human or anything

*create a script that is fun for you to write, and easy for the reader (aka the “gate keeper”) to read and recommend…..I can do that

I also read an article in which the guy suggested that one should watch their 5 favorite movies while reading through the screenplay. Now this is tricky because finding the final, what the actor had in their hand, draft of a screenplay is quite difficult. It’s either an early draft or some guy/gal who watched the movie a bunch of times and just wrote down the dialogue; not in screenplay format, and not helpful. Plus my 5 favorite movies are…varied, in style, genre, and mood; and they are as follows:

*The Young Victoria

*Captain America: The Winter Solider

*Pride and Prejudice (2005)

*My Fellow Americans

*It Happened One Night (the granddaddy of romantic comedies, winner of 5 academy awards, it is movie perfection)

As my husband said, “Those are…different.” Yeah. Although last night I did watch Leap Year (I know its not awesome, but its not bad either) while reading through a revised draft of the screenplay, which was little different from what appeared on screen, but it did give me an idea of how a scene looks on paper. At this point it helps enormously that I have characters, a story line, and an ending for both “Cambridge” and “Brooklyn”, I just need to put them in the right format. So today I thought I would practice proper screenplay format using one of the scenes from “Cambridge”. Back in May, I think it was, I introduced Mae Forester, history major, from Kansas, and is attending Cambridge University over the summer. She meets Evan O’Brady, English guy, who leads tour groups around Cambridge over the summer. They first meet right after she gets off the bus, this scene is a couple of day later.

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EXT. CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY-MORNING

Mae going for a jog, she stops to stretch a lot, dancing a little bit to the music that is coming through her head phones. Evan is with his friend Jeff, further up the street.

EVAN
(sees Mae jogging)
Jeff, there she is.

JEFF
There who is?

EVAN
You know the girl from 2 days ago. Remember I told she was dragging her suitcase.

JEFF
That’s “Jayhawks”?

Mae starts running their way, in the zone.

EVAN
Come on mate, she was cute. She was just tir-

Mae runs into him.

MAE
Oh…I’m so sorry.

EVAN
No no really Miss it was my fault.

Jeff rolls his eyes.

MAE
I guess I was in the “zone”. Music helps me when I run because, I don’t really like running. Just trying to get over some jet-lag. (smiles at Evan) I feel like I’ve seen you before… (realizes) You’re the guy…the one who helped me with my suitcase.

EVAN
Yes, yes that was me.

MAE
I’m sorry if I seemed rude or anything. I just don’t travel very well. Those couple days were just a blur.

EVAN
No its okay. You seem to be doing better.

MAE
Getting adjusted. I’m Mae by the way, Mae Forester.

Mae puts out her hand for a handshake.

EVAN
Evan O’Brady.

They share a really long handshake, Jeff’s eyes widen.

JEFF
Um, Evan..

EVAN
Right. So what brings you to Cambridge?

Jeff rolls his eyes again.

MAE
I got accepted into a 3 month program here at the university.

JEFF
That’s nice. Lovely to meet you Mae, but we must be going.

MAE
(looks at watch)
I have to get ready for class. I guess I’ll see y’all around.

EVAN
We’ll be around.

MAE
Bye.

EVAN
Bye.

Evan smiles as he watches Mae jog away, until Jeff comes into his line of vision.

EVAN
What?

JEFF
She just said she’s leaving in 3 months, get that look off your face.

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Okay the margins are trickier than I was expecting, I might need a screenplay formatting program…type thing. But still not too bad for my first time. By the way, today I got to physically do this…

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…with my Bachelor of Arts degree, AND they sent me a cool alumni decal to put on my car! I know, awesome!

Until next time,

The Texan

Whoa that post went a little long, please accept this bit of humor as my way of saying…sorry the post was so long.

 

 

9/11

On September 11, 2001, I was 16 years old. I had just begun my junior year of high school and when I first heard the news, I was sitting in my first class of the day. A classmate had gone to the library and had seen something about an attack in New York City on a TV. At that time, about 9:15am central time, there were few details, and the crisis was still unfolding. I remember the multitude of feelings; shock, fear, sadness, and just not knowing what to think. I remember how security at airports and other places like that tightened over night. I remember how other big cities in America braced for more possible attacks, fearing that New York City was just the beginning. I remember the days and weeks following that fateful day being full of so many unknowns. I remember the struggle to put all the pieces together, and figure out how the events of that day ever even came to pass.

I remember the the videos of people running from the giant dust cloud that formed as the towers fell, images of firefighters climbing over the debris, and the Budweiser commercial where the horses bowed in front of the Manhattan skyline. I remember the large American flag that was hung on the outside of the Pentagon and the heroism of the people on United flight 93. The pictures and videos and heroic stories still give me chills and bring tears to my eyes to this day; 16 years later. And I still have to look away when I see the Twin Towers in an pre-9/11 movie or TV show. It’s difficult to find the right words to say in regards to such a tragedy, and I know that mine do not do it justice but, they’re genuine; and I suppose that is the best anyone can do.

Let us not only fulfill the promise to never forget, but also, forever be committed to continue putting good into the world, in honor of the good that was taken that day.

911

Until next time,

The Texan

It Is Time

Well friends the bachelors degree has been earned, time off to relax (and take an epic road trip) has been taken, and the kids are back in school; therefore, quiet time has been regained. It is time to begin the, learn how to become a screen writer, uh…process. It’s time to finish Save the Cat! , and go over notes and a tips from that book and the first screenplay writing book I read simply called, Screenplay. It’s time to get “Cambridge” in proper screenplay format, finish “Brooklyn”, and do my best to perfect both stories. It’s time to make sure that Mae Forester, Evan O’Brady, Samantha York, and Carter Logan are the best they can be. After that of course it will time to discover the best way to get my stories to the “powers that be”, and maybe, just maybe, to a theater near you.

Before I focus on characters that have a future, I thought I would give a last bit of love to one that will never see the light of day; my ideal love interest for Bucky Barnes, a gal I call Rachel Buchanan. I wrote a blog post about her in late June, detailing that she had worked for S.H.I.E.L.D, helping with foreign languages, logistics, and mission planning. After S.H.I.E.L.D fell, she switched to helping the Avengers because of her friendship with Tony Stark (Iron Man). Her father was in the Army, and her grandfather worked for S.H.I.E.L.D as well, and was good friends with Howard Stark. The short scene that I shared included Rachel and Bucky laughing about the fact that he is technically older than her grandfather. Rachel is sweet, brilliant, and understanding; a lovely light to Bucky’s struggles with the darkness of his past. Now I know that Bucky will most likely end up with Natasha, it is, after all, in the comic books, and I’m good with anything that will bring Bucky happiness, and of course make him smile more.

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But as a writer, I can’t help but think of my own spin on something, and well…write it down. I suppose that it is at least valuable writing practice, and helps keep the grey matter in good working order. In the scene that I will share today, Tony expresses his concerns to Rachel after he has noticed that her and Bucky have, as they say in my neck of the woods, “taken a liking to each other”.

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Tony: “Maybe it was a mistake to bring you into all of this.”

Rachel: “Then why did you?”

Tony: “Because you’re good at what you do. And you have a low profile, which is helpful in this line of work. This..(gesturing toward where he last saw Bucky)..is like a weird plot twist.”

Rachel: “Well I didn’t plan on it, if that helps you. I’m not going into this blind. And I’m willing to trust him.”

Tony: “I just. I don’t want you to get hurt.”

Rachel: “I know and I appreciate that. You’ve always looked out for me. I remember when I was little I would call you Uncle Tony. (Rachel smiles at Tony, then sadness comes over her face) I remember the pain of losing them. What it did to you, and to my family. My grandfather was never the same after your dad died. Believe me, I understand what he was turned into, but that’s not who he is.”

(Camera shows Bucky standing in the hallway, guilt shows on his face. He turns to walk away.)

Tony: “Are you sure?”

Rachel: (smiles) “I am.”

Tony: (nods) “You know if you ever need anything.”

Rachel: “I know.”

Rachel comes out of the room, sees Bucky in the hallway.

Rachel: “Bucky?” (He doesn’t respond) “Bucky wait…(she catches up to him, touching him on the shoulder) What’s wrong?”

Bucky: “I’m sorry.”

Rachel: “For wha…oh…Did you hear what I said?”

Bucky: “I didn’t know that you knew them. I just…I can’t get away from my past. Not even with you.”

Rachel: “Bucky, I know that’s not who you are. You’re a good man.”

Bucky: “It’s hard for me to believe that.”

Rachel: “I know. (she looks around as if searching for the right words to say) I believe that true goodness is not born out of the absence of bad, but rather to ability to endure the bad, and come out the other side still good. I know that it will take time, but I have faith in you.”

Bucky: “You do?”

Rachel: “Yeah I do. (they smile at each other) Now, I believe a certain gentleman asked me for a date earlier. (Bucky gives her a “you still want to go out with me” look) So where are we going?”

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Even though she will never be a “thing”, I’m proud of Rachel Buchanan, and the little mini story that I created about her and Bucky. I suppose it is important to be proud of any work that one puts out whether it becomes a “thing” or not.

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Until next time,

The Texan