How to tell the drama of a life in 15 words

My friend Spike sent me this email the other day. I’m not a person who forwards just anything, but this piqued my interest, because of the fascinating way in which the story was born. I’d never heard of this competition, but the short film that won is a lesson in the economical use of dialogue and the pictures that dialogue can inspire in the reader’s mind. If you do nothing else, watch the video. But read this first…

In April 2010 Phillips Electronics launched a global competition, giving aspiring film makers the chance to have an original work judged by one of the world’s greatest film directors – Sir Ridley Scott, director of Hollywood blockbusters including Alien (1979), Blade Runner (1982) and Gladiator (2000). The competition, called “Tell It Your Way,” gave one lucky winner the chance to gain a week’s work experience at Ridley Scott Associates (RSA) offices in Los Angeles, New York, London or Hong Kong. The idea behind the contest was that there are a million ways to tell a story.  The competition involved creating an original 3-minute film that used the same piece of dialogue – a scant six lines.

 “What is that?”

 “A Unicorn.”

“Never seen one up close before.”


“Get away.”

 “I’m sorry.”

There were over 600 entries.  Scott Chose “Porcelain Unicorn” as the winner. Bruce Schroffel is an old friend from the ad agency biz.  He started the first Internet ad agency in LA.  Retired now, he has a couple of fun hobbies.  Sings in a barbershop quartet.  And acts in neighborhood-theater plays and, occasionally, in small movies.  (He’s a SAG member.)  He’s the man with the box at the end of the winning entry, which you can see below.

And here’s the one that got the People’s Voice award

Looking for love in all the wrong places…re-post from Linda Howard Urbach

Seduced Again. How Scrivener Stole My Heart and Left My Novel in the Lurch

How could I resist reading this? I happen to love Scrivener, even though I don’t know how to use the extra fancy stuff in it, but Linda Howard Urbach, author of the best-seller Madame Bovary’s Daughter, has been looking for the ideal writing partner, and most of the candidates don’t seem to have been marriage material. Here’s the beginning of her article on Huffpost. There’s a link to the rest of it below.

It made sense that I would turn to software in my time of need. I was going through a very rocky time with my novel. I had fallen out of love with it. (I even hated the chapter titles.) I was lonely, desperate and needy.

I was not a complete ingénue when it came to software. I used Final Draft years ago on a couple of screenplays. But the relationship was confined to a lot of heavy tabbing that a screenplay format requires. (One tab for character, two for action, etc.)

I needed a more meaningful, fulfilling connection. Who or what could I get to help me with my novel?

I went on (What’s a nice writer like me doing on a website like this? Shouldn’t I be able to write on my own like Jane Austen did?)

Like I found all sorts of interesting possibilities… Read on here