Monday Starters #13

A collection of links, fun and serious, on film and culture, to start the week, with a special focus on what writers are posting in the blogosphere.


Blog link: Kids remember the peril, by Jason Tammemägi

“I was reading some research into educational television that said children take in information best when they’re emotionally invested in the show. It seems so obvious.

So, applying that to general entertainment whether with or without any educational value, when are children going to be most emotionally invested in a film or show? During the ‘relax folks, the world is great and everything is okay’ parts? Or during the ’OMG run, something is going to eat us!!!’ parts?”


Podcast/ transcript: Scriptnotes, Ep 67: The air duct of backstory with John August and Craig Mazin

“So, back to your issue of confusion and satisfaction: that’s what I want people to take out of this is that it’s great to be confused for about ten seconds and be trying to figure it out. Like basically you want people, your audience and your readers, to be curious enough to want to figure out what’s happening. “Oh, I figured it out!” And they get that little burst of dopamine when they’re like, “I figured that out. I’m so excited. I’m so smart.””


Review: New guide to the field of emotion studies, by Kristine Steenbergh

“Research into the emotions is rapidly expanding and deepening in all kinds of disciplines. Cultural historians, psychologists, sociologists, neuroscientists, biologists, researchers in cultural studies and political science – everyone is turning to affect as an essential topic of research. This makes for a  lively and exuberant field of research, but it can also sometimes give me the overwhelming feeling that I will never be able to read up on everything that is going on. My research focuses on early modern drama and I am taking in current thinking on the emotions in cultural history and cultural studies, but how am I to relate to new insights in the relation between emotion and cognition, mirror neurones, or the transmission of affect?

Margaret Wetherell’s Affect and Emotion is a pragmatic and down-to-earth guide to what is currently happening in the landscape of emotion studies. A professor in social sciences and social psychology, Wetherell conducted what she calls a ‘reading marathon’ across all these disciplines to see what they had to offer.”


Indiegogo: Targeting, a feature film about a female soldier who returns home from Afghanistan and starts running surveillance on an Afghan person-of-interest she discovers is now living in her hometown.

“The story is about Mattie Ridgeway, a female soldier, who returns home from the war in Afghanistan, wounded psychologically she keeps her distance from her family; especially her 7 year old daughter. When she recognizes an Afghan person-of-interest from the past now living in her hometown, she begins infiltrating this man’s life since she believes that this man holds the secret to healing her wounds and thus giving her a chance to be with her daughter again.”


Blog link: Hitchcock’s antiheroes (Strangers on a Train, Dial M for Murder), by Tom Murphy

“Over the past few weeks we’ve seen Strangers on a Train (1951) and Dial M for Murder (1954) at the BFI. They were part of two separate seasons, but seeing them together raised an interesting issue: antiheroes – central characters who we should want to fail in their (usually criminal) objectives, but who at least a little bit of us wants to succeed.”



Blog link: Writing a new script in a week, by David Bishop

“I used the competition as a deadline to get myself writing an idea I’ve been mulling over for months. As a self-employed writer, finding the time to write spec scripts is problematic. 99% of specs never get made, and most never get read – a sad fact of life.
So an external deadline is way to overcome that hesitancy.”


Conference: The image of fatherhood in television series in Rome, 22-23 April 2013

“We live in a new golden age of the tv series. Globalization and internet have increased its social impact and capacity to shape our way of life, leading their creators to be called “the great narrators of the 21st century”.
The episodic narrative form, common in early popular literature, offers many creatives opportunities and some potential pitfalls (eg. lack of narrative unity) in a context already conditioned by marketing and audience demands.
The purpose of the conference is to study the image of fatherhood in television series, using it as a window upon the family and its popular representation.”


Blog link: ‘No dogs, no actors’ – Hollywood c.1908, by Scott W. Smith


12 Christmas Cards Sure to Geek Up Your Holiday Spirit from Mental Floss

A Christmas car by BisforBrown on Etsy

A Christmas car by BisforBrown on Etsy


Listen: Screenwriter’s Corner – Writing the Action Sequence part 3

“In part 3 of writing the Action Sequence, Syd Field explains how using the elements of the location enhances the writing of your sequence.”


Blog link: 7 Signposts for Successful Screenwriting, by Alan Denman

Storytelling and Transmedia

Touching the Storyworld: Andrea Phillips for the Future of Storytelling

“The generation of media consumers coming of age today are not content to read or watch or listen to stories; they want to be a part of those stories. They want to change the course of a plot; they want to care more deeply about its characters; they want a sensory intimacy with the settings of a story, and with the characters themselves. These desires fundamentally alter the act of writing in the transmedia age. The writer must honor that participatory impulse, says transmedia creator Andrea Phillips, and must satisfy that craving for more layered contexts while also anticipating a whole new range of emotional responses. “You can paint with a different palette of emotions than if you were just working in flat media,” says Phillips. When the reader or watcher becomes the participant in an alternate-reality game or transmedia narrative, new feelings, like guilt and pride, arise alongside conventional passive-media sentiments like empathy and catharsis. This film reveals Phillips’s own journey of discovery in becoming a transmedia creator, and offers a key to unlocking the vast narrative potential of telling stories across multiple kinds of media.”

The Third Act


Water and Wonder, by John Lingan (The Paris Review)

“It’s a Wonderful Life is a story about valuing what’s near. Like another nominally Christmas-themed movie from the forties, Meet Me in St. Louis, it reminds us that there’s nothing wrong with sticking close to home; there’s even something noble in letting your roots quest deeper into the dirt. Three separate life-altering dives might seem like a lot of plunging for a landlocked small-town character in a movie about the sanctity of friends and family. But it makes perfect sense within the grammar of the film because throughout It’s a Wonderful Life, the screen, like a human body, is nearly two-thirds water.”



“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

Winston Churchill



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