IN THE NEWS / Movie Reviews
THE NEW YORK ENQUIRER - Now that American Media
chief David Pecker has officially thrown his hat into the
three-ring circus that will be the auction of Primedia's
New York magazine, we can't help wondering what
editorial scenarios might arise from having the regional
mag published by the same folks who produce
supermarket tabs like the National Enquirer and the
Star. Not that there's anything wrong with those
publications. In fact, their editorial esteem appears to
have grown in recent years due to some of their
advanced reporting on some major national interest
stories. Or could it be that former prestige journalism
brands have sullied themselves to lower levels. In any
case, we can just see those New York special features
on extraterrestrial hot spots and two-headed boy
eateries, not to mention Intelligenciers on Elvis
sightings. But hey, if New York could survive Rupert
Murdoch, it could survive anything.
CLOSING THE BOOK - Book magazine, one of a flurry of
literary industry magazines that launched during the
late '90s, is closing its covers. The magazine, which
published a smart mix of consumer and business news
about books, authors and the publishing industry,
apparently lost the support of its primary benefactor,
book retail giant and co-owner Barnes & Noble. In
addition to investing millions, Barnes & Noble provided
an innovative distribution mechanism for Book, which
was a free club magazine to customers who signed up
for its Readers' Advantage program. But the writing may
already have been on the wall for Book. When Barnes
and Noble ended the subscription program, Book's
circulation dropped to 150,000 from a peak of 1.4
million subscribers. That's the kind of circulation rate
base adjustments that would be difficult for any title to
survive. While there was no word on what would be
come of the magazine's founders - editor-in-chief
Jerome Kramer and publisher (and former Advertising
Age reporter) Mark Gleason - I for one, will be waiting
for the book on Book to come out. But don't look for it
to be distributed by Barnes & Noble. Amazon.com,
COULD IT BE THAT COUNT OLAF IS AT WORK HERE? -
Speaking of books, we were so relieved - or should we
be alarmed - to learn that UnfortunateEvents.com is up
and running again. We were quite unsettled when we
received an email on Oct. 6 from the Unfortunate Team
alerting us that "an organization calling themselves 'The
Happy Endings Foundation' appear to have breached
security on the site and are intent on the downfall of
your favorite author and all he represents. Despicable
behavior if ever we heart it." Well, if you're not familiar
with this site or the series of Unfortunate Events books
it is designed to promote, you probably don't have a
tween-age child milling around your abode. The books
and their author, who goes by the pseudo name of
Limony Snicket, are only the most popular literature to
hit young readers since R.L. Stine's Goosebumps series.
But since the books always end with, well, unfortunate
endings, we aren't sure how to react to the happy
resolution of the site's recent publishing problems. But
wait, there may be an unhappy ending to this one, too.
While the unfortunate team says
UnfortunateEvents.com has been "restored to its
rightful place" and is chock'ful of new features, it does
not appear to be in proper working order. Among
the "special prizes" it's offering users are the chance to
win tickets to Disney's "new feature film "Holes." Holes,
for fans, who've already acknowledged not having
tweens in their midst, was the hit film based on another
incredibly popular children's book, that was released
last spring. One thing we're hoping the Unfortunate
Team does get right is the release date of its own
forthcoming film. It stars Jim Carrey as the series' evil
antagonist Count Olaf and is sure to be a blockbuster
hit, a phrase, which here means, they will make a lot of
money for the soon-to-be-even-more- fortunate team.
What's on TV?
HERE WE GO AGAIN - CBS will air a biopic on Ronald
Reagan's presidency during the November sweeps,
starring James Brolin as Reagan and Judy Davis as
Nancy Reagan. Conservatives are already shouting
about the treatment of their favorite president, claiming
a Hollywood bias toward liberalism will make for an
unfair (and sometimes unflattering) portrayal. We won't
claim a liberal or conservative bias here but there's
plenty of red meat in the Reagans' life for fodder on
CAMELOT: THE TV SERIES - ABC is pursuing a weekly
drama series based on the life of another first family,
the Kennedys. It would focus on Camelot beginning as
then-U.S. Sen. John F. Kennedy decides to run for the
presidency in 1959. There's no doubt that the series
would boast features that many dramas would love to
have: Strong characters, intense drama and yes, sex
and violence. Plus, if the series lasts several years, we
know what the cliffhangers could be: First season, JFK
wins presidency; second season, U.S. finds missiles in
Cuba; third season, JFK goes to Dallas; fourth season,
Jacqueline Kennedy escapes notoriety and Robert F.
Kennedy pulls out of his funk to challenge arch enemy,
President Lyndon Johnson. Beyond that, we here think
the high-concept drama falters.
THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE. MAYBE - First Court TV
petitions the Supreme Court to open the high court's
hearings to cameras and TV coverage and now Sci Fi
Channel is urging the federal government to cough up
what it knows about UFOs, particularly a purported
sighting in Kecksburg, Pa., in 1965. Sci Fi thinks there's
plenty of material to mine for new programming in the
line between science fiction and science fact. Beats
reruns of the original Star Trek.
IF ARNOLD AND JESSE COULD DO IT - "Access
Hollywood" co-host Pat O'Brien is the latest to declare
his political intentions. O'Brien said recently he's
considering running for governor of South Dakota. It
may not be as far-fetched as it seems. Instead of just
being the silly host of a celebrity show, O'Brien was a
good student at the University of South Dakota who
later studied international economics at Johns Hopkins
University. But we want to know who's next to declare
his intentions to run for office? Jerry Springer?
"PIECES OF APRIL"
Peter Hedges' "Pieces of April," this year's Thanksgiving
movie, ends prematurely and has a side plot that's a
distraction and a cheat, but it contains much good
humor and works, anyway.
Despite its flaws, "Pieces of April" has a lot of joy and
quirkiness; it's well-intentioned in its screwy way, with
flashes of human insight, and actors who can take a
moment and make it glow.
The movie is based on a Sports Illustrated story,
written by Gary Smith, about the way a series of
Anderson teams and coaches have adopted
James "Radio" Kennedy, a mentally disabled local man,
as a team mascot and cheerleader. He is much beloved,
and we sense that his good heart and cheer needed
only the right opportunity to give him this mission in
life. The movie focuses in fictional form on Radio's first
season with the team, and about the bond that forms
between the youngish man (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and lean,
no-nonsense Coach Harold Jones (Ed Harris).
"Radio" is such a sweet expression of the better side of
human nature, indeed, that it's surprising to find it in
theaters and not on one of the more innocuous cable
The movie stars Angelina Jolie, who is personally
involved in efforts to help refugees and isn't simply
dining out on a fashionable cause. She plays Sarah
Jordan, a London society woman whose bloodless
husband will never understand the passion she feels for
social causes -- and for Nick Callahan (Clive Owen), the
handsome doctor who flies from one trouble spot to
another saving lives. Wherever Nick is in need, be it
Cambodia, Ethiopia or Chechnya, Sarah flies in with
truckloads of supplies for the sexy, saturnine Nick.
The key shots revealing the movie's priorities are the
closeups right after Sarah meets Nick for the first time
in Ethiopia. We've stayed in long and medium shot for
most of the way, but then, after a line of dialogue in
which it becomes clear Sarah has a romantic as well as
a charitable motivation, we get closeups of the two as
they share this realization. Movie grammar suggests
that we are being visually informed that their romance
is the real subject of the movie. Another approach
might show Sarah in long shot moving through a field of
suffering, and then a closeup of a starving child
reaching out to her distant figure. You see the
Greetings Everyone and Happy Halloween!
Betsie's Newsletter has been going out to mailboxes for
several years now. Only recently when we decided to
combine our readers & writers into one group, and
give it a more professinal look that people began
asking questions... here's a recent casual conversation
with a PR professional.
There's no advertisement in your newsletter?
No. And we prefer it that way.
You pay for it?
Yes we do.
Would you consider advertising?
Maybe in the near future. But we don not want our
newsletter bombarded with advertisement, as we feel it
takes away from the important information we attempt
But advertisers could help with the cost.
True. But I'd rather give up the butter-pecan icecream
for a month than load banners & what not. And trust
me, my hips are thanking me!
And from the letters we recieve, it's unanimous!
Everyone likes the new look and the fact that we're not
full of fluff.
Just so everyone knows, this newsletter is also
translated and sent out in Spanish.
Thanks for your input... keep 'um coming ^_^
|Recipe of the Week|
| ||Since the chilly season is coming I decided to toss in a
soup recipe and being from South of the border I don't
know too many American dishes ^_^
BLACK BEAN SOUP
Black (or black turtle beans) are small, mild-flavored
beans used in both Mexican and South American
cuisines. If you prefer a smooth-texture, puree the
soup before serving.
1 lb. dry black beans, soaked in water overnight
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 smoked ham hock
3 qts. water
1 T. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
3 T. dry sherry
1 T. lemon juice
1 cup sour cream
In stockpot, heat the vegetable oil and saute onion and
garlic about 5 min. Drain the beans and add them to
pot along with the hamhock, water, cumin, oregano,
bay leaf, pepper, cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil and
reduce heat. Cook, uncovered, until beans are tender,
about 1-1/2 - 2 hrs. Stir in salt.
Remove hamhock. Pull off any remaining meat, shred
and eturn meat to pot. Stir in the cilantro, sherry and
lemon juice. Simmer another 30 min. When serving,
spoon the sour cream on top of each bowl. Garnish
with avocado and onion.
| ||Marketing Angels 37 Down To Earth & Practical How
TO'S on Marketing, Branding & Sales
by Kimberly L. McCall (a.k.a. Marketing Angel)
Paperback: 124 pages
Publisher: Booklocker.com; (August 2003)
Rating: Highly Recommended
Do you remember when Magicians Secrets Revealed
came out on TV? The program showed you step by
step how all the great magic tricks were done. It sure
ticked off a whole lot people in the industry!
Sell it Baby! reveals techniques and is a great refresher
and reference book. According to the author, geared
towards small-business owners, sales managers and
marketing professionals, but I found it much more than
This book is an easy introduction to the topic for
anyone who needs to learn about marketing for the first
time. The book comprehensively covers the subject, in
short and well-focused chapters.
McCall uncovers the truth and stimulates creative ideas
on "how to" through effective research, the creative
briefing process and how to manage creative
It provides a structured step-by-step process for
applying total brand management to your own product,
no matter what it may be. You'll learn how to secure
long-term revenue and build enduring business value.
The entire book gives a solid basis in marketing without
the fluff for sure. There's definitely no BS in this book.
An enjoyable book that is best read by dipping in to the
wealth of ideas and insights that are covered. There is
so much -food for thought here, that a cover-to-cover
read will leave you with your head spinning.
Overall, this book would be very useful for not only for
business professionals with products to sell. But
extremely useful for first-time authors who wish to
launch their novels into the literary world, or just
someone who wants to learn ins & outs of marketing.
This book will take you by the hand and guide you
towards success. Absolutely, a must read!
Reviewed by Betsie
|More Books For Book Lovers|
Harry and Ida Swop Teeth by Stephen Jones
Fiction, $24.47 / £7.99
The man who brought us Babybird and You're
Georgeous shows he's as adept with prose as he is with
song lyrics. Not surprisingly, his fiction is every bit as
dark as his music.
Set in the not-quite-reality of Little America, separated
Siamese twins Harry and Ida Brick don't have the
money to pay for an operation to save Harry's life.
Taking a rather violent leave of their father, they set
out on a roadtrip in a quest to find help. Nightmarish
and weird, but unsettlingly compelling.
Geomancer by Ian Irvine
Paperback: 608 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia Ltd
$24.71 / £7.99
All too often fantasy novels are turgid, sub-Tolkein
tomes that attempt to make up in length what they
lack in originality.
Irvine has taken some of the traditional fantasy themes
but given them a jolt of freshness in this tale of a
young woman who discovers that the powers she can
draw from the fault lines of the planet itself may be
more than she can ultimately control.
War Junkie by Jon Steele
Paperback: 329 pages
Publisher: Bantam Press, Ltd
$34.01 / £6.99
In 1995, award winning ITN cameraman Steele had a
nervous collapse in Heathrow airport en route to yet
another assignment in a war-torn part of the globe.
The book is a vivid account of the events that led up
to it during the previous year. Hooked on the
adrenaline-surge of war, he worked in literally some of
the worst places on earth, from Rwanda to Bosnia.
High-octane and novelistic in approach, it's an
enthralling insight into what goes into the images we
see on our TV screens.
|For Aspiring writers - What are Archetypes, & Why should writers use them?|
Why should you use archetypes when designing a story?
Your writing your novel or screenplay. You have a
wonderful idea. You spend days outlining and writing
the first thirty pages. Then suddenly something
happens. You lose steam. The pages get harder and
harder to write. The momentum you had going slows
down. Writer's block looms in the distance, and you
lose excitement in the masterpiece you're writing.
You begin to wonder... "maybe this wasn't such a hot
idea after all?"
Don't give up. The good news is that most of the time
the problem isn't with your story but with your
characters. So how can you make new, exciting
discoveries about your character if she's nothing but a
stereotype or blank page in your mind?
Yes, you may have plot points, but did you think about
how your character will react to the situations those
plot points put her in?
Reaction drives the story forward, not the plot points.
To a writer, archetypes are the blueprints for building
well-defined characters be they heroes, villans, or
Archetyes are an invaluable tool often overlooked by
writers. All too often writers create several characters
who act exactly like the writer himself, archetypes help
you to avoid this.
In using archetypes, the essence of your character is
narrowed down so she jumps off the page at the reader
instead of blending in with all the other characters.
Each with their own motivations, fears and cares that
move them as well as the plot forward.
Beware of books that present stereotypes as
archetypes which is exactly the opposite of what a
writer should use to create exciting new characters.
Stereotypes are oversimplified generalizations about
people usually stemming from one person's prejudice.
Archetypes aren't formed from one individual's view of
people but from the entire human race's experience of
people. Judgement and assumptions are absent.
Pick a character you want to write about. If you've
written a story already, then pick a character you
would like to spice up in a rewrite.
You hero stands invisible before you like a cartoon
waiting to be drawn. Close your eyes for a moment
and imagine this character coming to life. What does
he/she look like?
Find out why you want to spend the next year
writing about this character. It will help you to
persuade the reader to love him, too.
|Marketing For Authors: Keep Up to Date!|
As I've stated in a number of newsletters, in media
relations credibility is essential. Media relationships are
built on trust, and the media must be confident that it
can rely on information you provide. If you send out-of-
date items in your press release or media kit or your
Web site isn't current, your media contacts will cross
you off their lists. They can't risk running inaccurate
So if you plan to deal with the media, keep up to date!
Update everything regularly including your press
release, media kit, Web site and your answering
machine message. If you don't, you'll fall victim to the
relentless tides of change, and once they sweep you
under, you won't be able to breathe.
Continually read, watch, listen, and browse. When you
contact media, be in a position to say, "I loved those
pieces you did on___." Talk to them about their work
and then pitch them similar or related items. *Be
cautious no to linger to much though.
Spot trends and position yourself to capatalize on
them. Link your book to that particular news item.
Date every page of all print materials you distribute,
and prominently post the current date on your Web
site. Displaying the current date on the Web site each
day can keep your site at the top of some search lists.
Search engines sort by the most recent updates, so
daily updates will maintain your priority position. Top
listed sites get the most hits, which means more people
and more publicity.
Acknowledge that you've recieved and read e-mail
messages. Even a brief few words -- "Thanks a
lot," "Sounds good," or "I'll get right on it," -- can make
an enormous impact. Even if they turned you down!
Senders appreciate knowing that you read their
messages. And the next time you contact them, they
may be more receptive.
Know the name of the actor you'd like to contact?
Then here's some TV shows to get you started.
Big Ticket Television/CBS Prod./Pariah/Thomas Carter
One South Broad Street, 20th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Belisarius Prod./Paramount Television
1438 N. Gower Street
Building 35, 4th Floor
Hollywood, CA 90028
THE KING OF QUEENS
Hanley Prod./CBS Productions/Sony Pictures TV
10202 W. Washington Blvd.
David Lean Building, Suite 410 Culver City, CA 90232
20th Century Fox Televison/CBS Productions
4024 Radford Avenue
Building 7, 2nd Floor
Studio City, CA 91604
THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS
7800 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
All My Children
320 West 66th St.
New York, NY 10023
4151 Prospect Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
I am looking for high concept, studio-driven material in
the following genres: Comedies (Bruce Almighty/Liar
Liar), Thrillers (Panic Room/Double Jeopardy), Action
(Italian Job/Predator/The Fugitive), and Action Comedy
(Rush Hour/Lethal Weapon).
Examples of what is considered high concept are:
'The Wedding Crashers' (Two single men crash
weddings to meet women until one of the guys falls in
love with a bridesmaid), 'Princess Boot Camp' (a
comedy about a group of spoiled teenage girls whose
parents can't take their indulgent behavior anymore and
send them to away to boot camp, where the "spoil" is
squeezed out of them), 'In the Pink' (after being
downsized out of his cushy corporate job, a Texas
playboy, who is having problems landing a new job,
ends up selling "Mary Kaye" cosmetics. On the job, he
ends up uncovering the secret to understanding women
and becomes the top cosmetics seller in the nation).
PLEASE NOTE: If your pitch is not in the following
sequence it will not be considered.
Example of elements wanted and the way to pitch your
project is as follows:
a) Title: Daddy Day Care
b) Big Idea: Mr. Mom meets Big Daddy
c) Log Line: When a father loses his job, in order to
make ends meet, turns his house into a day care.
e) Hook/Twist: A man (dad) doing what is customarily
the women's job.
f) Genre: Comedy
g) Audience: Family
Budget range is open
Fearless Entertainment, which is run by a former studio
executive, manages both feature film and television
writers. Within the last few months, Fearless has set-
up a few feature film projects, and a television deal for
one of their writing teams.
WGA and Non-WGA both welcome to submit
Please email elements of your pitch to:
Orlando TV / Radio Stations
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