Friday, June 26, 2009

The glimmer of hope

My scriptwriting course brought me this little gem last week, and I thought you might find it interesting.

The beginning of Act Three (in most successful films) is commonly described as a "glimmer of hope." It follows on swiftly from the end of Act Two's "couldn't get any worse." The glimmer shows the audience that the protagonist is beginning to finally see how he or she can solve the "problem."

So our teacher asked us to find the glimmer of hope in the screenplay of "Thelma and Louise."

Much to my surprise it's this snippet of dialogue:

Now...even after all the years since "Thelma & Louise" first came out, I am still astonished that a film which ends with a suicide can be heralded as such a feel-good movie. How did the writer and director manage to do that? looks like the answer to this question lies in the writing of the script. When Thelma says that she couldn't go back..that she COULDN'T LIVE...the audience are given the tiniest of clues leading to the story's climax. Thelma and Louise will, in fact, NOT live.

So the 25 of us students in that class last week immediately typed away at the poor teacher...."But how can you call THAT a glimmer of hope? Suicide is never hopeful." Ah..but you the world of this film...a fictional world....a dream really...the ending IS full of hope and beauty. The magnificent thing here is that the the writer and director can convey that feeling, through their art, to a global audience in a commercially successful film.

Don't you just love that?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

"We came over to sit"

** Spoiler alert...I'm going to be giving away the ending of "Lars and the Real Girl".....

I just realised that the climactic scene in "Lars and the Real Girl" uses almost the same idea as "Tootsie." The figment of the protagonist's imagination is standing in the way of his "real" relationships, so he must "kill" this "antagonist" so as to be able to move on with his life.

Oh..and if you go to 3:24 you can see my favourite scene which always makes me think of the crafty bloggers I know.

(P.S. I'll still post about Thelma and Louise's glimmer of hope...maybe tomorrow)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Protagonist vs antagonist

How can it be Wednesday already? How strange. I am now into my 4th week of the scriptwriting course and I am finding it both impossible and possible, excruciating and exhilarating. I recently read that you know you're a writer if you can't be happy unless you write....but writing doesn't make you happy. That makes me laugh!! (which is always a good thing, especially on a Wednesday night).

So this is something really interesting which I learnt in my class yesterday...the climax of a script always has the protagonist battling his/her antagonist. This battle may be symbolic, it may not always be obvious, but it is always there (unless you're watching an arty-farty film, but my course is all about making commercially successful fun stuff). So, the question is the climax of "Tootsie"...the protagonist is Michael (Dustin Hoffman's character)...but who is the antagonist?

The antagonist is Dorothy, who doesn't really exist, because she's a role Michael plays so that he can get an acting job. In this scene, Michael "kills" Dorothy because her "existence" makes it impossible for him to have an authentic love relationship with Julie.

Don't you just love that?

P.S. Who noticed Geena Davis in that scene? How funny is that? I think my next post will be about the "glimmer of hope" in the 3rd act of "Thelma & Louise"....stay tuned.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Second Act

What a week it's been.

I'm into week three of my scriptwriting course and the learning curve is very steep. I am amazed at how much easier it is to analyse a script than to actually write one, not that we are writing scripts at all. The 25 of us (students) are spending hours and hours at the moment trying to figure out how the story we have in our head can be organised into 9 structural plot points within 3 acts.

I cannot tell you how difficult this is for me.

It took me an entire week of frustration to finally realise that my story has no 2nd act. I have a set-up, inciting incident, a climax and a resolution...but no significant setback, no change of plan, no mid-point ('no way back'), no 'things couldn't get worse' and no 'glimmer of hope'. It turns out that what I thought were my 'significant setback' and 'no way back' were simply interesting but minor 1st act scenes.

I have to try to be more dramatic. It looks like only a very difficult journey can lead to a truly satisfying happy ending.

You'd think I would have known that by now, hmph.

To end on a happier note (at least blog posts don't need to follow a particular structure....or do they?) here is the inciting incident from Tootsie:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

It's only the beginning

This song came on the radio this afternoon as I was driving Master Commentbox home from his drum lesson. It brought back some pretty fabulous memories for me. It's such an uplifting tune, and I associate it with some gutsy decisions I've made in my life that turned out really marrying Mr Commentbox when we were both quite young and naive, and also having two babies when we were quite young and naive. I looked this song up and discovered that it came out the same year Miss Commentbox was born, and I think it sums up the optimism of those early Commentbox years, so challenging and so worth it.

When I walked into the warm house this evening the divine aroma of home-baked cookies welcomed me home. Miss C is a young woman now (and a baker extraordinaire), and I still feel that it's only the many more fabulous days and nights ahead for us.

So here's Deborah Conway with "It's Only the Beginning."

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Musings on the mothering of young children

When the clouds finally lift
And the moon starts to rise,
Will you truly be ready
With wide open eyes?

Will you notice the swirls
Of stardust up there?
Or just turn a blind eye
And crawl back to your lair?

Preparation is key
And the turning is yours,
After feeding and sleeping
And a thousand dull chores.

Though your journey is long
And your battle is fierce,
The lifting of clouds
Is not to be missed.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Happy anniversary Mr. and Mrs. Eurolush!

There's a party going on!

Now wait a minute, y'all
This dance ain't for everybody
Only the sexy people
So all you fly mothers,
Get on out there and dance
Dance, I said!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Super-nice pyro

Another great thing about going to Sewjourn was the knowledge that talented photographers would be there to record the weekend (although I must say I pined terribly for Mary). Check out Suse's photos as well as Muppinstuff's, they are poetic and inspirational. There are also 2 new posts up, one of which describes me as a "super-nice pyro," a title which I gladly accept with honour and delight. Making and maintaining the daily fire was my obsession, and I still miss that fireplace terribly.

While I'm busy linking I thought I'd show you something that I received in the mail a couple of days ago.

The many gifts I have received through the blogosphere are a source of great happiness to me.

But that's another whole post unto itself.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Things you can do at Sewjourn that you can't do anywhere else

Wake up at 5am and race out through the back door, down the path and into the studio to start sewing.

Sew an entire wardrobe for yourself before breakfast.

Say "I need to go back to my sewing" and just go, because you want to.

Hear the phrase "Breakfast/lunch/dinner is ready" and enter the house to find a beautifully set table and a delicious meal.

Become obsessed with starting a fire in the fireplace in the morning, and continue obsessively tending to that same fire until bedtime. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Place packets of chocolate biscuits on the kitchen counter and help yourself as you see fit throughout the day. And night.

Lie in bed and think to yourself "Oh my god. Oh my god. I am sleeping in the same room as Suse! And she's wearing her artichoke socks. From her blog. Oh my god I'm sleeping in the same room as Suse."

Realise that reading and writing are COMPLETELY different to sewing in one HUGE way, you cannot hold a conversation while reading and writing. But you can certainly try very very hard.

Learn how to catch (and set free) a bird which got into one of the bedrooms and is flapping around in a panic. This is how you do it...Suse taught me. 1/ Go into bedroom and immediately close door behind you 2/ Grab a towel and wrap it around crazed bird 3/ Gently walk with bird in towel to front door while cooing softly and telling it to hush sweet bird, you'll be just fine, please hush you sweet little thing 3/ Laugh with delight as bird flies away screeching and flapping crazily.

Listen to the rhythmic tapping of a fabulous tapdancer who is wearing purple and white tap shoes and is practicing her choreography on the verandah.

Discover what happens when someone who's a tiny bit tipsy from the red wine at dinner tries to crochet a granny square - what happens is... a triangle.

Watch a woman spinning wool and marvel at how beautifully her body moves back and forth back and forth back and forth, like an exotic dance.

Take a walk up the road and discover the best bookshop in the whole world.

Watch someone make a cute monkey out of a sock, and then place said cute monkey in a funny pose while they're sleeping.

Crafting is not really a QUIET activity. I always thought it would be quiet, huh.

Discover that someone made you a cup of tea already, and it's there waiting for you, with love.

Talk for great lengths of time, and in the most minute detail, about the colour, texture, feel, weight, dimension and cost of a certain fabric.

Make your own wheatbag in under 5 minutes, heat it in the microwave and place it on your stomach for extra warmth while writing your essay. Explain cheekily that you are NOT's the wheatbag.

Talk honestly with 8 other women about the realities of family life, without the fear of being judged or misunderstood.

Walk around without paying much attention to how you look, and know that nobody really cares how you look...they are simply happy to have you there for company.

***For links to all of the Sewjourn Sisters please go back to my first Sewjourn post! Also, there are a couple of new postings (with photos!!) that have just been published today by Stompergirl and Jenny!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Crafty genius

Do you want to see some of the crafty genius which I witnessed over the weekend? Then quickly pop over to Sooz, and prepared to be amazed. I certainly was!

I shall continue posting Sewjourn details every day this stay tuned......

Echo Beach

In the previous post I linked to all of the fabulous women of the Queen's Birthday Long Weekend Sewjourn Extravaganza. I shall start our story from the end, I think, it just seems to make more sense in an odd way. I guess that when you spend three nights and 4 days with a group of women that you don't know very well (as it was in my case) there's a remarkable difference between the first afternoon when you shyly smile at them and hope that they like you, to the last afternoon when you're listening to this song very very loud, twice, while dancing around the kitchen with them.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Taking up the fabric

So you took up the fabric
And needled the thread,
Then sat at the table
To which you were led
By eight lovely maidens,
And I know that you thought
Of the chance that they might
Even notice you brought
Them a part of a sentence,
A couple of words,
A spelling of some
Calligraphical birds,
Who creep into a room
When nobody sees
And bang their wings loud
Like a tapdancing breeze,
And remind them of something
They felt long before
They noticed the patchworking
Strips on the floor.

I shall tell you much more of my wonderful Sewjourn weekend, but for the moment I'm pleased to give you the original cast members.

What a wonderful wonderful time I had with them!!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Hello all!

It feels like ages since my last post, hope you are all well. I've had a change to my normal schedule because I'm working a bit (outside my usual work at home) and I just started a scriptwriting course. The course is online and involves a huge amount of preparation and two evening sessions in a chat room with 24 other students and the teacher. I keep on missing all of you in that chat room, it's SO much's amazing how quickly we started acting like a real class, with the teacher having to get our attention, the 2 boys in the back corner making silly remarks, the serious girl sitting in the front row with her hand in the air ( that would be me). I'm learning so much and I love it.

I am also going away this weekend, well...actually...I will be seeing some of you this weekend in person. I'm going to Melbourne to a "crafting retreat" organised by Suse...I's like being invited to the set of a favourite film!!! I have been assured that craftiness is not a necessity, so I'll be taking along lots of books, I also bought new pyjamas, and I'm kinda obsessing about what I'll make for Sunday lunch (we are each rostered for a meal). I'm so happy!
I shall try to do a lot of writing during my time away from home, so I will hopefully have some fun posts in the coming week to share with you. I have a feeling that being surrounded by a group of talented and beautiful women will inspire me could it not?

I shall leave you with a question which my teacher asked us: "In "Silence of the Lambs"...what is Clarice's problem?" The funny girl sitting next to me who reminded me a lot of Kim answered "She needs new shoes".

Oh, and something else that I found so interesting. Who is the antagonist in SOTL? We all said Hannibal, but NO, it's actually Buffalo Bill. You see, even though the audience probably all walked out of the film being scared of Hannibal, he was actually Clarice's MENTOR. He helps her and never harms her. I like that sort of stuff.

Good night all xxxx