Category Archives: Post By: Anne N.

Artistic Ownership and You!


He’s Not Going to Take It

It’s hard for anything to not somehow relate back to the ongoing 2012 election at the moment. So when I recently read on entertainment news sites about how Dee Snider took offense at Paul Ryan playing the Twisted Sister song “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” I wasn’t surprised. It had to do with music, so of course entertainment news would report it. And it’s not like this is the first time this has happened, either. See Heart’s issue with Sarah Palin using “Barracuda,” “Born in the U.S.A.” being used by Reagan, Survivor insisting Newt Gingrich stop using “Eye of the Tiger,” and Sam Moore asking Obama not to play “Hold On, I’m Coming” in 2008.

As a writer, an artist, someone who wants to create things for others to view and enjoy, this got me thinking. Would there ever be a point that I would turn from blind joy that ANYONE shows interest in what I’ve made to anger over who expresses their fondness for my creation?

At what point does an artist stop having ownership of what they’ve made? Are they getting paid for the song getting played, and does that give them the ability to pick and choose where it is used?  And not merely financial ownership, but ownership of the spirit of the movie, song, book, art, etc.? If a musician can take umbrage at a political candidate using their song as background music, could an author insist that a politician not quote their writing because they disagree with their policies?

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Today’s Lesson: Everything’s Been Done Before



(The video from SouthParkStudios.com wouldn’t embed, so here’s the link to it: http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/153489/2-month-old-mayonnaise)

So, this post is coming together much later than I’d wanted, and is going to be much shorter than I’d planned, for one simple reason: the two previous posts I’d started writing were already done here on Indies Unchained.

First, I’ve recently started reading Fahrenheit 451 for the first time (hey, it was never on our reading list high school), and I wanted to tie the unsettling future of a world gone so PC that books and all thought-provoking media were destroyed into the need for shocking films like the just-released Compliance. But then I found out there had already been a post about the startling film based on the real abuse of a McDonald’s employee because of a phone call by someone posing as a police officer. Continue reading

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Married…with Movies


My sister and I, playing dress-up in my mother’s wedding dress.

I’m back in Massachusetts for my sister’s wedding this Sunday. So forgive me if I have Wedding on the brain. I’ve never been this involved in a wedding before, and have only been to a handful in the past. And I can now say from experience that there’s a reason so many movies are plotted around weddings. The extreme importance can either greatly heighten the drama and tension between people, blow the tiniest things out of proportion to hilarious results, or both.

Thank God my family, and my sister in particular, have a very healthy and firm grasp on everything that’s happening. We’re as prepared as possible so things don’t go wrong, but understand unforeseen things happen and in that case we just need to go with the flow and enjoy ourselves. Overall, we’d make for a pretty boring movie. I guess that actually is too bad, because I’m a filmmaker and I could use some inspiration for scripts.

But from making sure we all remember to eat so we don’t pass out from the stress, to guest/table arrangement futzing, to worryingly over-editing my Maid of Honor speech, there’s been enough for me to see how easily things could get out of hand. It’s been making me think about some of the most memorable wedding-related movies (and about eloping, if the day ever comes).

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The Trouble with Research…


Well, that’s not really fair to research. It’s actually a crucial step in creating a fully immersive world in your script. Could Mark Boal have written as dynamic a script for The Hurt Locker if he had just sat at his desk instead of traveling with soldier in the field? We’ve all had that experience of watching a movie and being pulled out of it by a glaring inconsistency.

On the other hand, when everything has been thoroughly researched the world created is so authentic the audience usually (and hopefully) doesn’t even notice.

It gets a bit overwhelming after a while.

My problem is that I love research too much. I am obsessed with getting every detail of a script exactly right. In one script I’ve written, not only did a character have cancer, but it was set in the 1980’s. So not only did I have to find out a kind of cancer would be appropriate for my story (life-threatening, but not debilitating), but I had to look up how that was treated in a time before I was even born. Or let’s say character is a big-shot who is all about image. I am not a car expert, so I am compelled to look up what kind of car he could afford and would fit in with his social scene.

I’ll be half an hour into writing, right in the middle of a scene or a stream of inspiration. But this need to know RIGHT NOW what prop is appropriate or how exactly social services would handle returning a child of abduction to their parent. Which totally breaks my concentration.

Cover of "On Writing" by Stephen King

But I was re-reading Stephen King’s On Writing. It’s a wonderful book that every writer — novelist, screenwriter, playwright — should have. Part scattered-memory memoir, part suggestion box, part inspirational survival story (it was started before he was hit by a car and nearly killed in  1999, and was finished as part of his mental recuperation after), all great. The best thing about On Writing is that, unlike many writing books, King doesn’t write in a condescending, “I have done this, so this is the path to success,” tone. Many people have asked him over the years about his process, so he wrote it down so that other writers could take from it what would work best for them.

In the third section, King identifies his 10 commandments of writing. And right there at number 9 is Research. And that it shouldn’t overwhelm the story. The story should always be first and foremost. Research serves the story by making the world whole and complete. But the first thing you should do is write the story.

All that research I get wrapped up in will serve no purpose if it gets in the way of actually completing the story. That is what I need to focus on. Table the things I don’t know, the information I want to confirm. Compile a list (including page numbers) of things I want to go back and check. Once I have the story in a first draft, that’s when I can have fun with all that time-consuming, nit-picky, delightful detailing of research.

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Do the Olympics Need to Get Their Groove Back?


Hello, Indie Unchained! This is my first post for this lovely blog, and I’m happy to join in with my own observations as a young TV/filmmaker navigating the world. As the weeks go on you may notice a few thing: I love hyphenates, parentheticals, and M-dashes; my run-on sentences border on stream of consciousness (sorry, every English teacher I’ve ever had); and I tend towards Devil’s advocacy. But mostly I hope you pick up on my passion for storytelling, no matter the format. Movies, books, TV, they’ve all profoundly moved me. And I want to create those experiences for others. And with that, let’s dive in.

Olympic Rings

I’ve always wondered where the Olympic logo came from.

Oh, Olympics. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways: (1) Triumph of the human spirit/tearjerker – call the stories what you will, but watching the heroics and heartbreak as people give something their all gets to me. It’s one of the reasons the Olympics are such a flashpoint of interest across the world. (2) The theme of global-unity. Yes, technically the nations are pitted against each other in a race for the most gold that some could say is just a precursor to The Hunger Games (and in the case of allegations that China trains their gymnasts like career Tributes, Panem may be closer than we think). But I look at moments, like during the men’s 400 m semifinal when current world champion Kirani James of Grenada trading name bibs with double-amputee and lightning-rod of controversy Oscar Pistorius of South Africa, or the world-wide sing-along to “Hey Jude” during the Opening Ceremony, and see the bonds that unite us all. (3) The nearly-naked men. Their bodies are fiiiiiiine. Continue reading

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