Friday Photo: Contact/s: The Art of Photojournalism

contacts picture

Tomorrow is the last day to see the Contact/s: The Art of Photojournalism at 3333 M Street, NW, in Georgetown. This great exhibit is part of FotoWeek DC and features twenty-five contact sheets made since 1976 by the photographers of Contact Press Images. The contact sheets have been enlarged and hung from the ceiling so that you can really good a close look at the individual photos. Plus, the exhibit, which is in a former furniture store, also has tons of really cool books on photojournalism that can be perused at your leisure. 

FotoWeek Seminar: The Nature of Transition

Last night, I braved the cold to attend a seminar entitled The Nature of Transition by photographer Steve Uzzell. It was part of FotoWeek, the seven day celebration of photography in Washington.

The theme of the seminar was on transition in our lives, how it is something to be embraced rather than feared. After all, as humans we’re constantly in a state of change as we live and evolve. Uzzell, who primarily shoots commercial work, got the idea for the presentation after hearing from clients that their organizations were in transition. As someone who received their last regular paycheck in 1975, he thought he had something to say on the subject – and he had the photos to communicate his message. 

For lack of a better term, I’d call his presentation a “magical slide show.” After an introduction to set the stage, he turned down the lights and talked in a conversational tone about the universal nature of transition while he showed iconic pictures from his work over the years. We’re drawn to transition, for its promise of growth, movement and clarity. It’s the most dynamic place to be. But how do we get in transition and best take advantage of it? Continue reading “FotoWeek Seminar: The Nature of Transition”

Eurabia is Semifinalist in 2008 Screenwriting Expo Screenplay Competition

Eurabia, my screenplay about what might happen if the US lost the war on terror, was a Semifinalist in the 2008 Screenwriting Expo Screenplay Competition. The Screenwriting Expo is a huge conference in LA for screenwriters.  

Always a bridesmaid, never a bride…

Actually, this script has done really well, making it to at least the semifinalist stages in the Austin, Writers on the Storm and American Screenwriters Association contests.

You can read the first ten pages online.

Will Obama Empower Government 2.0?

There’s a really interesting article in the New York Times on how Obama tapped the power of social networks to fuel his run for the presidency.  Here’s the nut graph:

Like a lot of Web innovators, the Obama campaign did not invent anything completely new. Instead, by bolting together social networking applications under the banner of a movement, they created an unforeseen force to raise money, organize locally, fight smear campaigns and get out the vote that helped them topple the Clinton machine and then John McCain and the Republicans. Continue reading “Will Obama Empower Government 2.0?”

Eurabia is Writers on the Storm Competition Semifinalist

My screenplay Eurabia is a Semi-Finalist in the Writers On The Storm Screenplay Competition. Out of more than 1300 scripts submitted, Eurabia finished in the the top 50 screenplays out of more than 1300 screenplays submitted. My screenplay Eurabia is set in the near future. In this dystopian story, America has lost the war on terror and Europe is controlled by radical Islam. However, the CIA has a secret plan to change the course of history… While I didn’t win the competition, it was great to get the recognition. Another nice and useful thing about this competition is the “coverage” I received for Eurabia.  Coverage basically is notes from a professional script reader on your screenplay, what works, what doesn’t, and what could be improved. I thought the coverage I received was really useful. It included ratings on structure, dialog, originality, premise, execution and even the title of my script.  Additionally, it included a couple of narrative sections that, while brief, offered concrete suggestions on how I could improve Eurabia.  Here’s what the anonymous reader wrote about Eurabia under Strengths/Weaknesses:

Really a great concept that is well-executed. The first part of the second act lacks tension, but otherwise the script is tight.

Second acts, in films and in life, are really tough. A second act is halfway through a movie when things start to drag or they introduce some wacky twist and you start to wonder about the film. It’s a fair criticism of Eurabia. When I wrote the script, I knew the beginning and I knew the end but the middle parts were a bit hazy. In parts of it, I was definitely feeling my way along, trying to figure out what was going to happen. Second act weakness is a common problem for scripts. I’ve revised Eurabia several times already. I can see the problem in the second act but am not sure how to fix it yet. The detail about “lacking tension” was helpful criticism because it highlighted what needs to be fixed. And here were their Reader Suggestions:

Consider upping the threat that he faces with releasing this ‘weapon’. Because he knows exactly where and when, the tension lessens. Possibly making the release a little less predictable might add some tense moments. May not be right for your script, but something to think about or play with. This is somewhat nit-picking, but this script is so close.

This is a note referring to the end of the script and a choice the main character has. It’s another good suggestion. Eurabia goes along in a very linear manner to a confrontation that’s talked about earlier in the script. Everyone can see it coming. Maybe it would be better to derail the train before it gets to the station. It’s an interesting idea. Overall, I was really pleased with the Writers On The Storm Screenplay Competition. The contest was administered professionally, the coverage was useful and the overall experience was a positive one. I’ve been on the other side of the table, as a judge for the DC Shorts Screenplay Competition, so I know how difficult it can be to plow through massive quantities of scripts of varying quality and still provide serious coverage of a script. With more than 1300 scripts, Writers on the Storm has done herculean work.

Check out the Eurabia Coverage (PDF) from Writers on the Storm.