fatal vancouver shooting

January 20, 2008

another one? yup. last night, saturday, january 19, near au bar, the night club on seymour street in downtown vancouver, bc. i was at an art opening at a tattoo parlor right across the street from where the shooting happened. we were waiting for our friends to arrive, and we noticed police lights outside, decided to check it out, and there, just a few yards away, was a shot up SUV and two men lying on the curb, dead. the whole area was taped off by the police, and there were a ton of people standing around. the dead men were unceremoniously splayed out on the sidewalk, uncovered and face up for all to see. this was around 10:30 pm. soon after, a police officer began shouting at all the bystanders to move on, and we took his “advice”. it was a surreal experience, because i don’t feel that effected by the whole thing, but i just saw two men dead, recently violently killed. it feels like such an “urban” experience, like something so much a part of the modern city life. violence. death. murder.

tips on screenwriting

January 14, 2008

okay, here’s a direct copy-paste of some of David Bordwell’s blog. he’s writing about the time he spent recently in Rome where he met a man named Amos Poe who, among many other things, is a screenwriter and teaches … well, here, i’ll let David tell you:

We enjoyed the conference, and one standout aspect was the presence of Amos Poe. Poe is probably best known for his first feature, Alphabet City (1985), and for his 16mm film on the Punk scene, The Blank Generation (1976). His Triple Bogey on a Par Five Hole (1991) has also attracted attention. For three decades Poe has worked as a director, producer, screenwriter, and teacher. The Sundance festival is playing Amy Redford’s The Guitar, which Poe wrote and coproduced.

Amos was great fun. A soft-spoken man with a quick and wicked sense of humor, he enlivened our dinners at various ristoranti. He also spoke extensively about screenwriting, which he teaches at NYU and at NYU’s Florence program. Like many screenwriters, he’s extremely intelligent and articulate about his craft. Three examples:

*How to learn screenwriting? Get a script version of a film you admire. Read the first ten pages, then closely watch the first ten minutes of the movie. Go back and read the next ten pages, and go ahead and watch the corresponding ten minutes. And so on until the end. Do this with three first-rate films, and you will have a concrete, intuitive understanding of how a screenplay works.

*A screenplay, Amos points out, isn’t a short story or novel or play. It’s a movie in words. It must make the reader see and hear an imaginary film, and not only the action, either. Without indicating specific shots, the descriptions should suggest the flow of long-shots and close-ups (”Her lipstick leaves a smear on the cigarette butt”). “The screenwriter is a filmmaker.”

*Write sounds into the background of scenes, setting them up for fuller presence later. If a train becomes important late in the story, mention the wail of a distant train early in the screenplay. This sort of auditory planting quietly strengthens the structure of the story in your reader’s mind.

A link to David Bordwell’s blog can be found on the side of my page under the “blogs” heading, or click here.

cooking with grappa!

January 8, 2008

grappa1.jpg

me and my grappa!

first off … grappa? no, it’s not a hypocorism for my grandfather. it’s a drink that, as a recent article in the New York Times Magazine described, is “not for the mild of heart or palate.” of grappa, the writer Italo Calvino wrote: “suitable only for defrocked priests, unemployed bookkeepers and husbands who have been cuckolded.” it’s a brandy-like beverage distilled from the bits of grape (peel, stems, and other remains) leftover from the process of making wine. it is a clear, un-aged liquid, the quality of which, like wine, depends on the fruit and process used to make it.

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