In the News & More
SHE SOFTENED HANDS WHILE YOU DID DISHES,
NOW WE BID HER OUR FONDEST WISHES - We're
feeling sadder and a little more chafed than usual today
on the passing of Jan Miner, the commercial actress
who was best known as Madge the manicurist in the
popular Palmolive ads. Miner played the character for
27 years, always singing the praises of the dish
washing liquid to the customers who found her soaking
her hands in it. She was 86.
Radio Biggies Report Stronger '04 Ad Sales
Pace - Two publicly traded companies with
significant holdings in radio -- Viacom and Radio One --
reported mixed results in the fourth quarter, but said
the tide is turning based on stronger ad sales pacings in
National Newspapers Report Mixed January Ad
Results - Like the other major national print media -
consumer magazines and Sunday newspaper
supplements - national newspapers continue to report
erratic advertising demand. The Big 3 papers - The New
York Times, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal,
which appeared to be turning the corner as they came
out of 2003, entered 2004 on down note.
24/7 Adds 1 More, A Big One - 24/7 Real Media
will partner with Microsoft, which will use its ad server
for the management and media sales of the Windows
Media Ad Partner Program, further establishing 24/7's
Web Alliance as one of the most powerful media entities
on the Internet.
Same-sex weddings continue in City by the Bay
With either days or weeks to go before a judge could
shut down San Francisco's same-sex wedding parade,
city officials are keeping their week-old gay marriage
program rolling and challenging President Bush to
consider the real human beings who are finally being
allowed to share the same civil rights that straight
couples enjoy. The city reports that 175 same-sex
couples were wed Wednesday, for a grand total of
more than 2,700 happy couples, as local officials have
opted to defend their actions in court rather than stop
the wedding march. On Tuesday, Judge James L.
Warren effectively gave the city a choice: Stop the
weddings now, or return to court in about six weeks to
explain why they should be considered legal. Mayor
Gavin Newsom said Wednesday that the city would
continue its unprecedented challenge to
California's "defense of marriage" act on behalf of gays
and lesbians. Also Wednesday, an appellate court
declined to intervene in a separate challenge to the
city's marriage policy before Friday, when the judge in
that case said he would hear more arguments.
As the weddings proceeded with increasingly routine
efficiency at San Francisco's City Hall, the impact of
the city's act of civil disobedience rippled across the
country to Washington, D.C., where President Bush said
he is monitoring the situation as he considers whether
to support a proposed federal constitutional amendment
to ban same-sex marriage. "I have consistently stated
that I'll support a law to protect marriage between a
man and a woman," Bush said. "Obviously these events
are influencing my decision." Newsom responded to
Bush's statement by repeating that California's
constitution prohibits him from discriminating on the
basis of sexual orientation. And he urged the president
to see the human faces involved in the city's new
marriage policy, inviting him to meet the veteran lesbian
activists who were the first couple to be wed with the
city's blessing February 12. "I ask the president to meet
Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin and discuss with them why
they simply want the same rights as a couple of 51
years that my wife and I enjoy today," Newsom said in
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Singer Jo Dee Messina's
engagement to road manager Don Muzquiz is over.
Messina said the long, on-again, off-again relationship
has come to an end.
Manager Stuart Dill of Refugee Management
International said the working relationship between the
two will continue.
NEW YORK - Rocker Ozzy Osbourne fears may never
Heavy metal rocker Ozzy Osbourne said Thursday he
fears he may not be able to perform again after an
accident on an all-terrain vehicle late last year that left
him in a coma for eight days.
Career Differences Causing 'Newlywed' Tension?
Rumors are sparking that America's
favorite "Newlyweds" are headed for stormy times.
Jessica Simpson's career continues to skyrocket as
poor Nick gets pushed aside.
Last week on "Newlyweds," Nick was miffed at Jessica's
bigger role on a VH-1 skit, and his role in their public
service announcement all but disappeared.
Raising Their Voices
Dozens of men scurry around a suburban Cairo art
gallery, carrying out the rapid-fire orders issued by a
tall, imposing woman in tight black jeans and a cream
cashmere sweater. "Everyone out of the way!" barks
director Inas El Degheidi, scanning the set to make sure
everything is in place for the next scene in Women in
Search of Freedom, her film about the harsh lives of
female migrant workers. Even in a cosmopolitan hub like
Cairo, most Arab men aren't used to being bossed
around by a woman, but El Degheidi's confrontational
style does not faze her crew; they "are used to my
way by now," she says. So are audiences: the veteran
Egyptian filmmaker is known for training her camera on
problems that male-dominated Arab society tries to
keep under wraps - marital infidelity; the sale of child
brides; a legal system that's tougher on women
accused of adultery than on men. "Issues need to be
brought to the surface," the director says, "to create a
healthy social dialogue."
Provocative? You bet. El Degheidi, 45, belongs to a
rising generation of Arab women who are challenging
the conservatism and sexism of the Middle East, where
some 90% of the population is Muslim and females are
rarely treated as equals. Across the region, these
women are using their growing prominence to push for
women's rights, and overcoming real obstacles in the
process. In Jordan, Queen Rania is lobbying for a
progressive agenda - and riling traditionalists (see
profile); in Qatar, Sheika Mouza has become the
architect of an educational expansion that's giving
women new options. And all over the Arab world,
savvy, ambitious, effective women in all fields -
politics, business, arts, sport - are helping to claim a
larger space for women in the public sphere.
50 First Dates (Columbia Pictures)
Cast: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Sean Astin, Rob
Schneider, Blake Clark Director: Peter Segal
50 First Dates offers viewers a kinder, gentler Adam
Sandler. Gone (at least for one movie) is the
narcissistic adolescent caught in a perpetual state of
arrested development. In his place is a likeable goofball
whose rough edges are worn off by a force more
effective than sandpaper: falling in love.
Although there are moments that will tickle the bellies
of longtime Sandler fans (one of which involves gallons
of walrus vomit dripping from an individual of
indeterminate sex), 50 First Dates is sweet enough to
capture the attention, and perhaps affection, of those
who would not ordinarily see a movie headlined by this
Movies Released Today
Against the Ropes
"Against the Ropes" is inspired by the true story of
Jackie Kallen, the most successful female manager in
boxing history. Meg Ryan portrays Jackie Kallen, a
smart, gutsy woman who wants to break out of a dead-
end job as she knows she was meant for more. She
gets her chance when she sees Luther Shaw (Epps) in
a brawl and knows he's a champion in the raw.
Determined to follow her heart, she becomes Luther's
boxing manager and convinces him that he can fight his
way out of a thug life. Together with veteran trainer
Felix Reynolds (Dutton), Jackie and Luther discover
they need each other to realize their dreams and take
the boxing world by storm.
The Best Two Years (limited)
Four missionaries. Half a world away. The experience of
Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen
Lindsay Lohan stars in a comedy with
attitude, "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen". Lola
feels her life is simply not worth living when she moves
with her family from every single thing on the planet
that she loves (read: the Big Apple) and plunked down
in the middle of the cultural wasteland that is suburban
New Jersey. How will this New York doll ever make it as
a Jersey girl?
The people who took audiences on a "Road Trip" and
back to "Old School" now invite you on a wild "Eurotrip."
Have you ever pressed "Send" on an email and
immediately wished you could get it back? Scotty
Thomas (Mechlowicz) and his Berlin-based computer
pen pal Mieke (Boehrs) have been writing each other
for years, sharing every detail of their lives. When
Mieke makes a cyber pass at Scotty, he completely
freaks out, thinking that this guy he's known for years
is coming on to him -in German no less. Too bad the
one detail Scotty doesn't seem to know is that, in
Germany, Mieke is a girl's name.
Welcome to Mooseport
The sleepy Maine community has all the accoutrements
of idyllic small town life: a little park and gazebo, quaint
architecture, a moose that wanders through the
streets, and lots of friendly townsfolk, including the
proprietor of the local hardware store, Handy Harrison
(Romano) and his veterinarian girlfriend Sally (Tierney).
Mooseport also just happens to be the vacation home
for the leader of the free world: Monroe "Eagle" Cole,
the President of the United States (Hackman).
Following two successful terms, the wildly popular
President is ready to retire to his "Mooseport White
House," publish his memoirs and embark on a series of
lucrative speaking engagements. "The Eagle Has
Landed!" proclaim the Mooseport headlines when Cole
arrives in the Maine town, along with his devoted
executive secretary Grace Sutherland (Marcia Gay
Harden) and young PR director Bullard (Savage).
Hello, Hello Everyone!
Have you ever step outside your door, take a deep
breath and wonder what it is that fate will bring your
way - that hour, day, week, or month?
I do, and it never ceases to amaze me!
Wednesday morning I picked up the mail, bunch of junk.
From out of the stack one envelope peeked out. I
yanked it from the pile ... went inside then opened it.
I sat down as I began to read. Halfway through the
letter I jumped out of my chair and screamed so loud
that I scared my poor dog!
Immediately I made some calls and upon their advice
quickly began contacting the media. Needless to say, it
got me a spot in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, as well as
follow-ups with channels 4, 5, & 11! It may also get me
a spot in the Pittsburgh paper - who knows!
The amazing thing is that I never sent a letter to this
person!!!! But the cool thing I found out was that I
Here take a look and see what scared
|Recipes & Jokes|
Hilarious Answering Machine Messages
1. A is for academics, B is for beer. One of those
reasons is why we're not here, so leave a message.
2. Please leave a message. However, you have the
right to remain silent. Everything you say will be
recorded and will be used by us.
3. Hi. I am probably home. I'm avoiding someone I don't
like. Leave me a message, and if I don't call back, it's
4. Hi, I'm not at home right now, but my answering
machine is, so you can talk to it instead. Wait for the
5. If you are a burglar, then we're at home cleaning our
weapons right now and can't answer the phone.
Otherwise, we probably aren't home and it is safe to
leave us a message.
6.He-lo! This is Santo. If you leave message, I call you
soon. If you leave "sexy message," I call you sooner!
7. Hi! John's answering machine is broken. This is his
refrigerator. Please speak very slowly, and I'll stick your
message to myself with one of these magnets.
8. Hello, You are talking to a machine. I am capable of
receiving messages. My owners do not need siding,
windows, or a hot tub, and their carpets are clean.
They give to charities through their office and do not
need their pictures taken. If you're still with me, leave
your name and number and they will get back to you.
9. This is not an answering machine. This is a
telepathic thought recording device. After the tone,
think about your name, your reason for calling and a
number where I can reach you, and I'll think about
returning your call.
10. Hi, this is George. I'm sorry I can't answer the
phone right now. Leave a message, and then wait by
your phone until I call you back.
11. Hello, you've reached Jim and Sonya. We can't pick
up the phone right now, because we're doing something
we really enjoy. Sonya likes doing it up and down, and I
like doing it left to right, real slowly. So leave a
message, and when we're done brushing our teeth, we'll
get back to you.
Title: Welcome to Havana, Seņor Hemingway
Author: Alfredo Jose Estrada
Publisher: TurnKey Press; (October 2003)
Genre: Historical Fiction
Paperback: 340 pp
Rating: Highly Recommend
A literary time machine that will take you to pre-
Castro Cuba with a fresh perspective.
February 18, 2004
I try to read and review the books that are presented
to me within an acceptable timeframe. However, as I
read the first words of this novel and proceeded to the
conclusion, I did not want to miss one word! I found
myself reading and rereading various sections in an
attempt to take in every aspect of this book with no
In Seņor Estrada's novel, he begins by painting a
diverse and colorful background utilizing culture rich
Havana. He assembles a combination of visual and
physical necessities that create a backdrop in front of
which this novel unfolds. Each character is
meticulously developed through the writing and their
actions described by our narrator. Once developed,
these multi-faceted characters interact with the multi-
faceted background to play out the story.
Enter Harvard educated Javier Lopez Angulo and
legendary American writer
Ernest Hemingway, two of the author's main characters
that form a bond after a near miss - with each others'
fists. The two form a bond of sorts and Javier leads
Ernest "call me Papa" Hemingway through Cuba in a
series of interesting events that take place prior to and
during the violence that enthralls Cuba as it approaches
the prohibition era riddled with social revolution.
In the author's descriptions, you sit at a small table in
the nightclubs Javier and Hemingway frequent. You
watch the two of them drinking together, engaged in
conversation about the ladies or the fishing - two of
Hemingway's many passions. Every so often you
witness a patron in the bar challenge Hemingway to a
fight, only to be disposed of in a melee that entertains
the crowd immensely.
The two characters cross each other often, either in
boxing matches or in matters of the heart. You get the
sense that their relationship is evolving from a state of
serenity to that of rivalry. Just like the Cuba that they
live in during this time, things are going to change and
they do. Seņor Estrada will take you on this personal
journey in an attempt to discover what caused the rift
in the relationship between his grandfather and
Hemingway. You unravel this mystery utilizing Estrada's
visual artistry in due time but every word from
beginning to end will captivate you instantly.
Add this one to your library, just as I have and revisit it
Seņor Estrada, thank you for the journey!
Reviewed by Tyrone Vincent Banks
Title: From the Agency with Love
Author: John Drake-Moore
Publisher: Synergy Books (April 2004)
Genre: Political Thriller
Rating: Highly Recommended
Impressive... Better than any Bond movie!
February 18, 2004
The overall structure of From the Agency with Love is
pure excitement. Driving at a moderate pace, mixing
adventure and sexual tension.
Author John Drake-Moore offers a novel of international
intrigue, and hard-boiled as befitting a spy story. Thus
the intensity can wax and wane.
On the high-sea of conspiracy readers will meet many a
mysterious character, to name a few: Miss Sheperton,
a nurse who secretly works for the bureau. Jonathan
Stuyvesant-Smith, cunning, "well-kept" man with many
secrets. His wife Madge Steinway who after a tragic
accident - wheelchair bound. Kimber, who hails from
Haiti and Jonathan's portly old butler. A trans-sexual
hooker named April Shower, who meets an under-cover
operator codenamed Marvel, not what he appears to
be, and together they weave their way through danger.
Poetic, and beautifully written, the story opens to a
humorous gossiping conversation between a group of
women on the isle of Capri. But trekking through
fashionable hotels and isle's, life for these socialites
quickly turns to murder, rapidly descending into the
world of international espionage and greed.
Pick a page, any page, and you'll find trust and betrayal
is gracefully woven together with other, more delicate
threads. Instantly you'll be submerged in a delightfully
intelligent and engaging page-turner. It is completely
While this story is entirely fictional, nevertheless, From
the Agency with Love highlights the very real dangers
lurking. Such as, the rising importance of security
issues, warning signs regarding the risk of conflict and
misuse of power. Readers are shown that one should be
less complacent and trusting of its government, for all
is not what it seems. The backdrop of the book and
they are well conveyed.
The author demonstrates a nuance understanding of
the current events shaping today's world. He also
acknowledges that actions have long-term
consequences. The timing of this book is rather
appropriate here in the U.S., at a moment when
government officials are attempting to abrogate rights.
If you enjoy a great spy novel, this book is for you -
guaranteed, this is one you will not put down until you
reach the end!
Reviewed by Betsie
Besides an intriguing family tree, Award- winning author
John Drake-Moore is also known for many other works.
For more information visit his web site:
|For Aspiring Writers|
Copyright confusion clarified!
With the ease of copying information from the Internet,
there is a lot of confusion (and misinformation)
surrounding the notion of copyright. The following links
provide easy-to-understand discussions of the subject.
Brad Templeton has two very useful copyright articles
on his web site. The first is a great introduction to the
basics of copyright:
The other is a great sequel that clears up some
The U.S. Copyright Office's web site provides a
thorough coverage of copyright issues:
Finally, here's a useful article on how to word a
We are looking for a completed character driven Sci-Fi
script, no Fantasy. The story must have a realistic feel,
tonally similar to 'Gattaca'.
Budget range is open
Both WG and non-WG welcome to submit.
Please send a logline followed by a synopsis to:
I am looking for a completed conceptual horror script in
the vein of 'The Ring' (no slasher type).
NOTE: As we are a management company we will not
consider scripts by writers that are already repped by a
I am a former development exec for a number of studio-
based producers (David Rotman at Fox, Marc Shmuger
at Columbia and Lynwood Spinks at Universal) recently
turned literary manager/producer.
WG and non-WG both welcome to submit
Please email a one-paragraph synopsis (no
Screenwriting techniques you can apply to your
In "Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers," there's a
scene where Gollum leads Frodo and Sam through
the "Dead Marshes." There is mist in the air, small fires
eerily burn here and there, and Frodo, weak and tired,
is spellbound by the dead faces he beholds under the
Their power is almost magnetic -- and he's drawn down
into the water. Further down he goes as their spirits
reach out to ensnare him. They would pull him to his
death of Gollum didn't save him.
Frodo is suicidal; death is just on the periphery of his
thoughts. The dead faces in the water are a "Symbol of
a Character's Condition or Change in Condition." They
symbolize his suicidal feelings. That's why Sam isn't
the one who is drawn to them.
This particular use of symbols, by the way, is what I
call a "Character Deepening Technique," for it gives
depth to Frodo's character. In "Beyond Structure" we
go over about 30 "Character Deepening Techniques,"
and look at many film clips which illustrate how they're
Like almost all "Beyond Structure" techniques,
this "Character Deepening Technique" usually operates
outside the conscious awareness of the audience.
By the way, the dead faces in the water -- the people
who died in a battle with Sauron long ago -- are also
another kind of symbol: they foreshadow the large
battle to come. And so they're also a "Plot Deepening
In fact, the entire scene uses a third symbol as well.
The marsh is populated by small fires. Throughout the
three films, and especially "The Two Towers," fire is a
symbol used repeatedly in association with Sauron and
Saruman. Sauron has his volcano and his burning eye
on his tower, and Saruman has the fiery forges of
his underground foundry.
Fire is associated with evil, and is a "Symbol of a
Concept" -- yet a third kind of symbol. This kind of
symbol is also a "Plot Deepening Technique." So when
we see Frodo and his followers walking amidst the fires,
unconsciously we're reminded that they're walking into
the realm of dread and evil.
Thus, when Gollum says, "Careful now! Or hobbits go
down to join the dead ones, and light little candles of
their own." -- his words have emotional resonance
because he's not just saying that Frodo and Sam might
die, but his words unconsciously evoke Sauron and
The scene does more than "deepen" Frodo and the
plot; it moves the story forward. This shows how the
idea isn't to "pause the story" to stick in some
techniques, but to use them as the story advances.
Are we losing the desire to write well?
British polling company ICM Research recently
conducted a survey on behalf of MSN. They found that
around two-thirds of the two thousand 18-24 year olds
surveyed cared not at all about punctuation, spelling
and grammar when composing e-mail.
This overly casual attitude to e-mail seems to be quite
widespread - and not just among 18-24 year olds.
Much of the e-mail I receive (from both friends and
business colleagues) is poorly written. Now this may be
defensible in personal correspondence, but sloppy
writing has no place in business.
Remember, you are judged by the way you write.
In a face-to-face meeting, you will be judged on your
looks, height, clothing, perceived wealth, accent, class
and a whole host of other features. While we tell our
children not to judge a book by its cover, the reality is
that we do exactly that every day of our lives.
When reading a piece of correspondence from someone
you have not met face-to-face, though, none of these
factors are present. You have only one thing with
which to form an impression of them - their writing.
So, in this twenty-first century world of increasingly
faceless communication, your writing is more important
than ever. I say again: you are judged by the way you
write, so write well.
Do you think you don't have enough time to market?
Here's a solution that can help you get started on
marketing, or any other task you've been putting off.
Promise yourself you will spend 15 uninterrupted
minutes working on one aspect of marketing. Edit the
copy for your brochure. Update your email signature
file. Make some phone calls. Revise a web page. Send a
letter. Post a message to an email list. Or identify a
media outlet and send your most recent press release
You'll be amazed by what you can accomplish in just 15
minutes. Think you can't get anything done in that
short time? How long does it take to clean your house?
How long does it take if your mother-in-law will be
there in 15 minutes? I rest my case!
Set a timer (so you don't watch the clock) and focus
on your task for 15 minutes. Don't answer the phone or
get distracted by anything else. When the timer goes
off, you can stop. Of course, if you are on a roll, you
might want to keep going for a little longer, but don't
keep at it for so long that you lose focus.
There is nothing magic about 15 minutes. Make it 20 or
30 minutes, if you wish. Just commit to spending that
time intently working on the task at hand.
By the way, this technique can work for anything else
you've been putting off.
The Magic Touch
When people see you in the media, you become
familiar, even famous! And it gives you credibility. When
you are written about in the newspaper, or interviewed
on TV or radio, you are news; and that's better than
any advertising you can buy.
So how do you make yourself memorable and stand out
from the crowd?
Professional speaker Tom Britton has a magical secret
to capturing the attention of audiences. He uses his
skills as an award-winning magician to deliver powerful
information in an exciting and entertaining way.
Audiences respond both to his message and the unique
way it is presented.
Minnie Pearl had her hat, Steve Martin his banjo . . .
entertainers have long understood the importance of
having a "hook"--something that makes them stand out
from the rest. It is just as important for speakers, sales
people, professionals, entrepreneurs, managers--
anyone in business--to have a hook that makes them
How do you demonstrate uniqueness? Perhaps an
article of clothing (wearing purple, or large glasses, or a
Panama hat), your personality style, a trademark saying
(all the network anchors go for that), a logo, or a
signature gift (the cookie lady). Create a "handle." Use
a physical feature that makes you stand out, such as
bright red hair.
Your hook can make you stand out and help people
remember you. The rest is up to you. Tom Britton's
hook of incorporating magic into his presentations helps
him get attention, but he wouldn't be as successful as
he is if he wasn't also a great speaker. Once you've
hooked them, you've got to reel them in by delivering
Getting media coverage isn't hard. Send enough press
releases to the right media, and you will get publicity.
However, some of the best publicity successes may
come when you're not even trying.