Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A film about writing and an epic online event

How do you tell a friend you think their newly-completed, beloved manuscript sucks? Eep.
"The Blue Tooth Virgin" is the title of the fictional screenplay being critiqued as well as the title of this indie film, which is a must-see for writers of any sort. It's a low-budget movie and has its flaws, but the central question of why we write (for art, for money, for validation?) and how we react to other people's opinions is fascinating. And, often, hilarious.
In the opening, the critiquer, who is a magazine editor played by Bryce Johnson, asks that simple question many writers find daunting: What's it about?
"It's a character-driven thriller. It's about the characters, but it's a thriller. That's what this is, so if you could pay attention to the characters, if you find them interesting and likable--but not too likable..." replies the screenwriter portrayed by Austin Peck.
Okay, then. Vague enough?
So, the magazine editor reads it, hates it and asks advice of a neighbor and film editor played with humorous pragmatism by Tom Gilroy. Here's part of that exchange:
"What's it about?"
"I don't know."
"Are there characters?"
"I'm not sure."
"Well, it sounds like an indie film."
As you might imagine, the moment of critique truth doesn't go over well. In case you decide to rent this one, I don't want to give away what happens, but there is a great scene with Golden Globe winner Karen Black as a New Age script consultant. And wacky as she is, she drives to the heart of the problem.
I'm going to do the segue thing now into other writerly things of interest, because if you don't want your beloved manuscript lost in the slushpile, there's work (with fun stuff!) along the road ahead.
WriteOnCon is coming! This astounding, amazing, stupefying event is brought to you by these fabulous writer/bloggers: Casey McCormick, Elana Johnson, Shannon Messenger, Laura and Lisa Roecker, Jamie Harrington, Jen Stayrook.
This free, online conference for kidlit writers takes place Aug. 10-12 and features literary agents, editors and published authors. Did you hear me? It's free!
Some participants: Suzie Townsend, Mark McVeigh, Steven Malk, Joanna Stampfel-Volpe, Anica Rissi, Mandy Hubbard, Lisa Schroeder. Does that have your attention? And there are many more. When you are quite done with me, go follow the WriteOnCon web site so you can keep up on the news. Registration opens July 1.
Talk about Paying it Forward. Some people are just made of awesome.


Shannon O'Donnell said...

Interesting review, Tricia! Isn't the WriteOnCon going to be awesome?! Those ladies are amazing. I don't know where they find the time to do all the things they do. :-)

Talli Roland said...

Great review!

Isn't WriteOnCon a fab idea? Thanks for the heads-up!

Tere Kirkland said...

I'm excited for WriteOn Con, myself. And I love Indie flicks, so I'll have to check out this one. Thanks!

Dawn Ius said...

The Blud Tooth Virgin sounds like a great book! Thanks for sharing.

Lisa Desrochers said...

WriteOnCon is going to be totally amazing. My truly fabulous agent is participating, which makes me =). (Now you know why I call her that.) Elana is an organizational goddess. It's true.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Shannon: I can't figure out how they do it. This event has to be overwhelming to put together (or would be for me). And, yet, they've done it!

Thanks, Talli!

Tere: Hope you like it. :)

Hello, Dawn, and welcome!

Lisa: How cool your agent is participating! I have a feeling it's going to be a wild-and-crazy few days but so wonderful.

Phoenix said...

I'm still laughing at how hilariously true this movie might be - as an actress and screenplay writer I'm already hooked just from your review! I'll definitely check it out :)

Hope you've been well!

Jemi Fraser said...

'Are there characters --- I'm not sure' -- that had me laughing out loud. :)

Love the new photo at the top of the blog - gorgeous!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Phoenix: I think you'll laugh out loud. I did. There are some really funny lines and some intense ones, too. I'm well--I hope you are, too!

Jemi: Ha! I'm glad you're laughing. I kept laughing as I typed it in.
And, thanks, I'm fond of that photo, too.

Stephanie Thornton said...

The Blue Tooth Virgin sounds great- I'll make my husband watch it with me. He might not get it as much as I do, but I could use some comic relief.

Sherrie Petersen said...

Okay, I'm going to have to rent this movie. It sounds awesome!

Wen Baragrey said...

Hey, congrats on winning the query critique contest, I just saw! Yay you!!! :)

Claire Dawn said...

Is it bad that I'm scared to watch it? Eek!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Stephanie: Hope your husband enjoys dialogue-driven indie!

Sherrie: I'm not sure if non-writers would find it amusing, but I sure did.

Wen: Thanks! I need to tweak it and send it. Haven't looked at it since that last go-round.

Claire: Oh, yes, be scared. There is the gnarly moment of truth, the unbalancing of friendship. It's real.

Tabitha Bird said...

Hmmm.. that sounds very...interesting???
Wow, what does one say?

And yeah, I heard about WriterOnCon. Can't wait :)

Dr. Mohamed said...

Interesting movie concept! I'll see if I can find a copy to rent.

Sarah Laurence said...

The film sounds fun. Thanks for telling me about WriteOnCon; that a great idea for those who can’t travel to conferences.

PJ Hoover said...

The movie looks awesome! And funny. And just like what I could use seeing!

Suzanne Casamento said...

Wouldn't you hate for someone to read your manuscript and then not be able to tell someone what it's about?

That event sounds AWESOME! Thank you for the heads up!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Tabitha: It is a quandry to figure out what to say, and it's interesting the way the movie shows how both writers have prejudices and agendas.

Hi Mohamed: I hope you do, because it's fascinating. It is on Netflix.

Sarah: That conference is such an incredible event. A lot of hard work for the organizers and a lot of volunteering by many, but it should spread much good knowledge and fun around.

PJ: There are some really funny moments. Enjoy!

Suzanne: That would be the worse thing ever, wouldn't it? But the message in the movie was that if the writer can't explain it then how is anyone else going to get it?

Oh that event is made of AWESOME! You are welcome.

Anonymous said...

Interesting review, Tricia. I'll definitely check out this film...anything that has to do with writing in a movie I am on it!

Writing is just a really interesting topic for me, I guess. Thanks for the recommendation.

Write on!

Angela Ackerman said...

Tricia, stop on by my blog--you've won something! :)

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

VR Barkowski said...

interesting review. I don't watch many films, but I'm intrigued.

I don't even write KidLit and I'm excited about WriteOnCon! Those ladies are A-MAZE-ING!

Faith Pray said...

WriteOnCon sounds great, and the movie sounds fun too. Thanks for the recommendations!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Great, Vatche!

Yay, Angela!

VR and Faith: I hope you both enjoy. I love to spread fun and cheer.

Linda Kage said...

Oh, This video sounds like fun. Love the dialogue you showed! And I like the new look of your blog. I haven't visited in so long, everything's changed!!

Unknown said...

I loved your review, sounds very interesting so I might have to tune in!

The online conference sounds fantastic! What a great idea they had and I look forward to participating!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Linda: *waves* Good to see you and thank you so much!

Jen: I'm excited about the conference, too. I'm not sure how it will work, but the people signed up are incredible.

Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

That looks fabulous!! And hilarious. I wonder where I can find it around here. I'll look it up.

Looking forward to WriteOnCon. I'm hoping to be able to participate, at least in part. Major Pay It Forward event!!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Carolina: Netflix has it. (no, I don't own stock or work for them, but it is so easy to find movies that way)
I'm so curious how the WriteOnCon is going to work--I mean, like how we participate in it. Very excited.