Yearning for Wonderland
Today is a very special day, the unveiling of the short story film. This film was created by myself, using Melanie Conklin’s visceral and chilling short story, The Catch. You can read her original story here: The Catch by Melanie Conklin.
This dark and troubling gem was actually the grand prize winner of the Behind the Curtain Flash Fiction contest.
The Grand Prize Package for Melanie included many unique goodies, such as an exclusive interview with me (stay tuned!) touting her latest project, a writing notebook from Ruth Long, the chance to collaborate with me on my next crazy flash fiction contest (coming Spring 2013).
One of the coolest prizes I offered was a dramatic audio recording of Melanie’s winning story. This is something I’ve never offered before and, frankly, something I’ve not seen a great deal. There are audiobooks, of course, but not much in the way of short story recordings and frequently the dramatizations are a little suppressed. So it was an exciting idea for me.
I’ve had a lot of people ask me about my recording process, so I thought I’d share a little, especially since Melanie’s story recording evolved in such a cool way.
The first thing I did was paste her story into a Word document and start breaking up the beats. Every story has a pulse, a natural rhythm, that you must suss out if you are to read it out loud successfully. Some sections must be fast, others dragged out deliciously. I highlight words in different colors to emphasize at different levels. I make notes such as [Pause], [Speed Up] or my personal favorite, [Brogue].
The more I read it out loud (and gave myself extreme chills), the more I realized that I wanted to do far more than just read it. This story needed music!
Simple enough, except I needed music that was royalty-free, the perfect length and mood. No problem. I started sifting through the THOUSANDS of circus-related free music. Most of it sounded like a broken carousel on methamphetamines.
After, no joke, two hours of reviewing music, I found the perfect piece, “Carousel” by Circus Contraption. It was dark, tinkly, and reminded me of a music box slowly winding down. But the section I loved was also two minutes, 30 seconds too short.
So I downloaded some free music editing software and sliced and diced my way clumsily through to the cut I needed. I’m not going to talk about how long it took me to do that or how steep my learning curve was. On the plus side, it ended up fairly excellent and I worked the one editing blip into the story, as you’ll see.
So I had my audio recording and my music. I also had a great vintage photograph from the Behind the Curtain Pinterest board that Melanie used as the inspiration for her story.
I kept staring at that image, which was so evocative; Melanie used it so well in her story that just looking at it was giving me killer goosebumps.
I’m a very visual person, as well as aural, so I finally gave in to the natural temptation. “Clearly,” said I, “I need a movie to go with this audio.”
So I started combing the internet for images that would work hand-in-hand with this photo. It was not easy, but what massively ambitious artistic project is?
Once I had found and edited all the images to my satisfaction, it was MERELY a matter of sequencing them in a dramatic fashion for the story. My hope is that these photographs unfold in a manner that does Melanie’s story justice.
Did I manage?
Here it comes: the holiday shopping season…whether you are ready or not.
For me, it’s almost appalling that it’s already Thanksgiving. Where did the summer go? I was busy with new job, new fiance, new-old hometown, new schedules and new worlds. But here we are, less than six weeks away from Christmas.
For the first time in nine years, I’m not working either in retail or hospitality. But a lot of people are. In this economy, many are under-employed. Many are working 50+ hours/week in the next two weeks. On their feet. If you’ve done it, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, please remember the following:
These people are working, so that we can be shopping – please don’t forget that. Take a moment and say thank you, acknowledge their hard work. Many are overworked and underpaid and pushed to the edge of exhaustion for the next six weeks.
When you go to Walmart at 8 pm on Thanksgiving Day Eve, just remember that they are there and not with their families. So maybe consider doing something different this year. Thanksgiving. Small Business Saturday (November 24th)is the perfect antidote to the hectic holidays. And it’s not just small businesses in your area. Don’t forget about the wonderful Etsy sellers, the artists and the writers online. Your purchase to them means everything. A few eye-opening facts:
* Small businesses are 99.7% of all employers.
* Small businesses employ roughly 50% of all private sector workers
* Small businesses create 75% of the net new jobs in our economy.
You can go here to find local businesses to support in your area:
So shop small and local! Show your support – shop Small Business Saturday. It’s our day.
I have created a list of some of my favorite authors, writers, artists and small businesses online. Please consider patronizing them this holiday season!
A.E. Howard (Flight of Blue) – http://amzn.to/TaOqPx
Becca J. Campbell (Foreign Identity) – http://amzn.to/TaM3wa
Cameron Lawton (Witch, Nun, Shaman’s Drum & Yours to Command) – http://amzn.to/TaPlQ3
Cara Michaels (Gaia’s Chosen Series) – http://amzn.to/TaOPBs
Diane J. Reed (TWIXT) – http://amzn.to/TaLTEN
Dionne Lister (Shadows of the Realm) – http://amzn.to/TaMkPI
Elise Stokes (Cassidy Jones Adventures series) – http://amzn.to/TaLLFi
Gary Henry (American Goddesses) – http://amzn.to/OTYlqK
James W. Hazzard (Dead Sea Games) – http://amzn.to/WmChuI
Jessica Grey (Awake & Views From the Tower) – http://amzn.to/TaLFO0
Justin Bogdanovitch (Sandcastles & Other Stories) – http://bit.ly/SANDCASTLE
Laura Benedict (Devil’s Oven & Isabella Moon & others) – http://amzn.to/TaLmCN
Sophie Moss (The Selkie Spell & The Selkie Enchantress) – http://t.co/pjp9OBlJ
Tristan J. Tarwater (Valley of Ten Crescents Series) – http://amzn.to/TaLjHp
Angie Richmond (artwork) – http://www.etsy.com/shop/angierichmond
Cindi Cusick (pottery) – http://etsy.me/TaNGtx
Rachel Stanley (jewelry) – http://tocatchahummingbird.etsy.com
Tracy McCusker (book cover design) – http://bit.ly/TaPtyS
Anna Meade (Annasongs) – http://www.fiverr.com/ruanna3
Paul Ramey (Veil & Subdue) – http://www.veilandsubdue.com
Anna Meade (Super Secret Spy Girl) – http://www.zazzle.com/supersecretspygirl*
This is not an exhaustive list, by any means.
For the first time ever, I am inviting you to include a link in the comments to the post. If I forgot to include you, my apologies (it’s almost 1 am!).
Please include your name, your talent (writing, art, music, small business, Etsy, Fiverr) and a link where people can shop for your work this holiday season.
For me, even if I exercise regularly, if I don’t eat better it doesn’t do much of anything apparently. So I was getting my legs much more toned and a better overall appearance but not losing all that much weight.
A casual glance at my daily diet would reveal why: fast food, lots of processed, high-salt and fat foods, lots of sugar. And, lots of soda.
Apparently this whole fitness revelation was going to involve even more pain and frustration than it already had – I was going to have to start cutting calories.
Allow me to preface this by saying that I am a female who has NEVER counted calories, never even really dieted. Oh sure, I would flirt with eating better occasionally, but I just could never turn down that bowl of crab bisque. Or that freshly baked Krispy Kreme donut. Or…okay, I’d better stop now.
PLEASE HELP ME WITH BRIDE DIET AND TAKE ALL CANDY PLEASE
I have started high-speed Mall Walking with my mom, which I consider equally good #ZAP training. All the good zombie movies have a mall sequence. I’ll know where everything is. And yes, I haven’t missed the hilarity of it.