12/27/07 | Awesome, Genius Mode, My Writings | 0 Comments
I have declared 2008 to be the Year of the Book…!
(Feel free to post this on your own site! Just click on the picture for links.)
This is the year I will finally finish my book. I will finish it, get an agent, and sell it to a major publisher. I also want to start my second book, which has been percolating in my mind for years.
This is not a New Year’s resolution, because those are useless and never work. Think of it as if I’m from the future, coming back to write this post for things that I have already done (because I will).
May all of my Ohana have a similarly successful year. The same goes for all of my favorite writers as well. Remember, this has already happened, so I’m just reporting the truth! (I swear I’m not crazy...!)
2008, I’m coming. Watch out!
Kyle W. Kerr
I just wanted to take a moment out of the hectic Christmas season to wish you all a Happy Holiday and a Healthy New Year! May 2008 be the year of the novel (okay, I’m making that wish more for myself than for you--unless you, too, are writing a book… then by all means, wish away)...!
Kyle W. Kerr
This post is all about some BIG NEWS… Some really amazing things that I thought I should share with you all… Of course, none of it is about me, but all of it excites me to no end!
The first thing is about my friend Dawn, who I have mentioned in the past. She recently finished her first book and sent it off to an agent who expressed interest in it back at the Maui Writers Conference… Well, she just got an email from said agent that was very encouraging! I’m not going to go into it until Dawn gets some definite answers, because I don’t want to jinx it… I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you Iusey!
Any Peter Jackson fans out there? Of COURSE there are! For any of you who don’t personally know me, I am a HUGE PJ fan, and have loved all of the movies of his I’ve seen (including the Lord of the Rings trilogy, King Kong, Heavenly Creatures, and The Frighteners, and I’m sooo looking forward to The Lovely Bones)… Well, Pete and New Line were having a little tiff… to the tune of about $100 million! That’s how much money in royalties NL tried to swindle PJ out of for the Rings trilogy. Because of the success of the trilogy, NL wanted to immediately put into production the film version of The Hobbit, the prequel to the trilogy, though both sides refused to work with each other while the dispute was going on. I don’t blame them… Personally, I don’t see what the problem was. Give him the damn $100M, because you have the potential to make another BILLION dollars if you team up for another movie (that’s the amount each of the first three made on average in box office receipts alone!). Well, they’ve finally settled their dispute, and PJ is back on board for The Hobbit (which, from what I can tell, is going to be TWO movies, shot consecutively and released in 2010 and 2011), but only in a producer role! He’s not going to direct! What the eff?! They’re looking at Spider-Man director Sam Raimi to fill Pete’s shoes… As long as PJ’s there to make sure things stay on track, it should still be good… I hope!
Also, for those of you who enjoyed Christopher Nolan’s vision of Bruce Wayne and Gotham City in Batman Begins, the next installment is coming out next summer! Enjoy the trailer for The Dark Knight below!
It looks even BETTER than Begins! Anyone else notice that Katie Holmes was replaced by Maggie Gyllenhaal? Katie had scheduling difficulties. Yeah, she decided to film the ridiculous looking Mad Money with Diane Keaton and Queen Latifah. I’m not even going to put the trailer on my site, because it looks sooo bad… But you can view it here if you so choose… Good choice, Katie!
Focus Features has become one of my new favorite movie studios, after their release of the brilliant Atonement. Here are two new movies coming out by the studio that look really hilarious!
In Bruges (January 17, 2008) - This trailer actually has cursing in it, so you probably shouldn’t watch it at work...!
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (March 7 2008)
Kyle W. Kerr
12/13/07 | Movies, Trailers, My Writings | 0 Comments
Well, I’m back in Pennsylvania for about three-ish weeks… Meaning, I should have that amount of time to work on my novel. Considering I don’t have a car, and everyone else works, I guess I’m going to have a lot of time in front of my computer screen. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
Besides that, I’m excited to report that I have been seeing movies at a rate of about two a week (which is just fine with me!). What does that mean to you? Reviews!
It’s one of the perks of living in a major city, being able to see movies in limited release. Atonement was actually playing in this little theater in the middle of Cambridge, one that I would have never found had I not gone with someone who knew the way.
If you’re a writer, you’ll understand what I’m about to say. Have you ever walked out of a movie and just been filled with an overwhelming will to write? This was one of those movies. It was simply stunning, a truly amazing movie. The movie is about two hours long, but I wish it would have been three more. The images were stunning, the story so engaging, that I didn’t want it to end. My friend summed it up nicely by saying (the first words out of his mouth as the credits started to roll), “That movie is going to win so many awards.” I really hope it does; it so deserves it.
Based on the novel by bestselling author Ian McEwan, the story starts as 13-year-old Briony Tallis, a fledgling writer herself (with quite the imagination), witnesses certain things that she doesn’t quite understand but thinks she does. Through a series of extremely unfortunate circumstances, she ends up accusing Robbie (James McAvoy), her sister Cecilia’s (Kiera Knightly) lover, of raping her cousin. This results in him going to jail, and ultimately ending up in the army. Briony grows up to realize her mistake, and makes amends in the only way she can…
Breathtaking movie that had my heart pounding right until the very end…! And this movie has one of the best twists I have seen in many years; totally unexpected. A must-see once it opens in wide release… and keep a look out for it during Oscar season! I’m definitely going to have to read the book now!
Plus, I have just found out (a day after I initially wrote this post, by the way… notice the prediction of future awards above?), the movie has been nominated for an astounding SEVEN Golden Globe awards, including Best Motion Picture - Drama, Best Actress (Kiera Knightly), Best Actor (James McAvoy), Best Supporting Actress (Saoirse Ronan, who plays the 13yo Briony), Best Director (Joe Wright), Best Screenplay (Christopher Hampton), and Best Original Score (Dario Marianelli)! Congratulations and good luck! (Click here to see the rest of the nominations…)
Please, if you haven’t seen it already, watch the trailer for the movie…
Philip Pullman wrote an amazing trilogy of books called His Dark Materials, set in another dimension of our world, where everyone has a daemon (a corporeal part of their soul in the shape of an animal). I read these books a number of years ago, and have been waiting for the movies to be made. Well, after a number of production issues, they finally did it.
The movie is visually stunning, newcomer Dakota Blue Richards is the perfect Lyra (seriously, exactly how I pictured her), and they were incredibly faithful to the book. If there was one problem I had with the movie, it’s that they cut the last 40 pages of the book out of the movie. And, from the trailers, I know that they actually filmed and finished the shots, yet director Chris Weitz decided to cut them from the movie to end it on a happier, more optimistic note. Yeah, well, it kind of ruined it for anyone who read the book, because we were all expecting about thirty more minutes of action. Plus, if you’ve read the book, you know it ends with the perfect cliffhanger, one that would have driven audiences to see the second movie. What annoys me most, I think, is that (if they even make the second movie, which is up in the air right now) they’re going to have to spend the first 20 or so minutes of the next movie going through what was supposed to be at the end of Compass, which means less time to dedicate to an even more complicated plot of The Subtle Knife. I hope Chris knows what he’s doing.
For anyone who follows it, you know The Golden Compass was #1 at the boxoffice this past weekend, but made a very modest $25 million. (Atonement, by contrast, made an astounding $800,459 in just 32 theaters, an average of over $25,000 per theater!) Hopefully they’ll still make the second movie if this one doesn’t perform as expected (which I honestly don’t think it will).
I was never a huge fan of Steve Carell (I actually don’t like The Office), but have become intrigued with him recently after seeing Little Miss Sunshine (which was a really fantastic movie on its own). He’s actually a really great actor when he isn’t overacting! This movie is about a single dad, trying his hardest to raise three girls on his own and manage his career as the local “Dear Abby”-esque advice columnist. They go to his family’s house for the holidays, where he meets and spends the day with a woman he meets at a bookstore. It’s the first woman he’s been interested in since his wife died, but she turns out to be his brother’s girlfriend. Uh-oh! Well, it makes for some really hilarious moments. I think it’s on its way out of theaters, so definitely put it on your list of movies to rent when it comes out on DVD.
Kyle W. Kerr
I know this is the third trailer I’m posting in a week, but these are all movies that I have been waiting a long time for and am very excited about.
Now, here’s the trailer for Inkheart...!
Kyle W. Kerr
12/7/07 | Business, The Industry | 0 Comments
TO: Nick Counter, chief negotiator for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers
FROM: Kyle Kerr, concerned citizen and future WGA member
SUBJECT: The AMPTP should agree to the Writers Guild of America’s contract terms
For the past four weeks, over 12,000 members of the Writers Guild of America have been on strike because their contracts expired. You have been in negotiations with the WGA since July of this year, yet no agreement on new contract terms has been made.
As you know, the writers are seeking two things: higher residuals for DVD sales and payment for movies and TV shows sold and aired over the internet. The WGA is seeking to double residuals for DVD sales from $0.04 to $0.08 per DVD, which have an average retail price of $19.99-34.99. Writers are also not currently compensated for sales and revenue generated from New Media (which refers to newer ways of displaying video, such as the internet, cell phones and mobile devices like iPods).
In 2007, consumers are expected to spend about $16.4 billion on DVDs, and studios could generate about $158 million from selling movies online and about $194 million from selling TV shows online. In such a volatile industry, where there is often no job security and where writers can go through months of unemployment between projects, residuals are an extremely important part of their income. There is no other cushion for them.
By agreeing to the WGA contract terms quickly and amicably, you will be able to 1) avoid a potential industry loss in the billions, and 2) retain a strong public image.
1. Reduce the chances of a potential billion dollar industry loss
The last writers strike lasted for months, and cost the industry hundreds of millions of dollars in only that short amount of time. Think of what a similar loss would equate to in today’s economy. It will not be millions, or even hundreds of millions of dollars; it will be in the billions, especially if the strike were to last longer than its predecessor. The majority of losses will be in the form of advertising dollars companies will no longer want to spend on shows that have entered into reruns, though, in the future, box office receipts and DVD sales will be affected as well.
1.1 Learn from the past
The last WGA strike was in 1988 and lasted 22 weeks (just over five months), resulting in a staggering $500 million loss for the entertainment industry. Considering inflation, a similar strike in 2007 could result in over $1 billion in economic losses, according to Los Angeles economist Jack Kyser. These losses would be the result of television shows being forced into reruns, which, for many networks, will happen in early 2008 (power hitters such as ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and NBC’s Heroes have already aired all possible episodes without the return or their writers). Talk-shows such as Jay Leno, David Letterman and Jon Stewart, which rely heavily on current news events, were affected immediately and have already gone into reruns.
As viewership begins to decline due to the use of reruns, companies will be less and less willing to spend any significant portion of their advertising dollars on these shows, which is where the majority of the industry losses will stem from. If an agreement is not reached within the next few months, TV shows will not complete their current seasons and pilots for the 2008 fall season will not be shot, resulting in a complete lack in new programming for the entire 2008 year—save for reality television shows, which have a strong hit-or-miss relationship with fickle viewers.
1.2 What you are missing
The first paragraph of the official 2007 strike rules, a document you are surely familiar with, states that all WGA members…
…must immediately stop writing for any and all struck companies. [Members] may not continue to write or complete writing started before the strike for a struck company. [Members] may not start writing on a new project during a strike. [Members] may not perform writing services even if [s/he] work[s] at home or at [his/her] own office rather than at the company’s premises. This Rule also prohibits [members] from attending meetings, or engaging in conversations, as a writer concerning new, pending or future projects or writing assignments with producers, directors or other representatives of any struck company. [Members] may not attend pitch meetings or communicate with a company representative to receive notes on literary material even if [s/he] intend[s] to wait until the strike ends to make any requested changes.
Meaning that, until the matter is resolved, no WGA member is to work—or even make contact with—one of the above mentioned “struck companies” in any way. These companies comprise all of Hollywood’s major studios, including the Big Five: News Corp. (Fox), Universal (NBC), Viacom (Paramount, CBS), Time Warner (WB, New Line Cinema, CW) and Disney (Pixar, ABC). This amounts to an entire industry shutdown in the very near future if negotiations are not successful. Not only will the talk-shows be affected, but regular television programming, and, eventually, major motion pictures.
2. Begin to mend an already broken public image
Everyone is being affected by the continuation of this strike. Without writers, production on all late-night talk-shows and a number of prime-time television shows has been suspended, and their non-WGA member employees along with them. Some have been entirely laid-off, while others were lucky enough to get suspended with a 50% pay cut. This is no longer about writers and producers; not only are the above mentioned staff members being affected, but your viewers as well. The audiences—the very people who provide the ratings from which you are able to charge advertising dollars for—are unhappy and siding with the writers.
2.1 The innocence at stake
Since the talk-shows have gone off the air over a month ago, nearly all of the non-WGA members staffed by production companies and television studios have been laid off (anywhere from 50-80 staff members per show). Because most of the talk-show hosts are also card-carrying WGA members (including Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel, and Craig Ferguson), they are not allowed to cross the picket lines, so their shows have not resumed production. Jay Leno, David Letterman and Conan O’Brien are paying these staff members out of their own pockets.
Also suspended (for five weeks with a 50% pay cut) because of the writers strike are the NBC and Sci-Fi Channel regular casts of 30 Rock, The Office, Bionic Woman and Battlestar Galactica. Sony Pictures TV has suspended regulars of ‘Til Death and Rules of Engagement without pay. Warner Bros. TV has warned that layoffs are in the future if the strike continues.
2.2 Audience patience is beginning to wane
We all remember the ratings slump that welcomed NBC’s Heroes after its six-week extended “spring break” during the show’s first season. The writers strike has been in effect for four weeks to date, with all late-night talk-shows already in reruns and most prime-time television shows not far behind; how long do you think it will take for fans to start losing interest in these shows?
A recent poll, conducted by the Graziadio School of Business Management at Pepperdine University, states that 63% of Americans are in favor of the striking writers, with only 4% in favor of networks and studios. 33% said that they were unsure. Another poll, carried out by SurveyUSA in Los Angeles, reported that 69% of adults familiar with the strike supported the writers.
There has also been an online petition created in support of the WGA strike. As of December 6, 2007, there have been over 61,350 signatures collected. The petition states: “We, the undersigned, fully support the strike of the Writers Guild of America, and agree with the WGA’s stated goals of obtaining just and fair compensation regarding revenues generated through ‘new media’. Sincerely, The Undersigned.”
Not only are viewers upset about the hoards of industry employees being laid off, but about their loss of programming as well. Besides the above mentioned affected television shows, a number of studios have announced the delay of several major motion pictures. One victim of such delays is the much anticipated prequel to the 2006 blockbuster The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, staring Tom Hanks and Naomi Watts, and helmed by Da Vinci director Ron Howard. Release of the picture has been pushed from winter 2008 to summer 2009. Also postponed is Columbia Picture’s Edwin A. Salt, a spy thriller featuring Tom Cruise. NBC has also cancelled its planned Heroes spin-off series, Heroes: Origins, which was supposed to air for six episodes starting in April 2008.
I think you can agree that this strike has gone on long enough, and we can only hope that an end is very near in sight. If you agree to the WGA’s terms for fair compensation, then you and the rest of the industry will be able to avoid the catastrophic consequences I have outlined above. Your producers and studios will benefit from an increase in advertising revenue and a higher public image; writers guild members will benefit from a fair and just compensation package; actors, directors and non-union workers will benefit from reinstated production of their programs; and, most importantly, the audience will benefit from an increase in new programming. All you have to do is give a little in order to do a lot of good. Please feel free to get in contact with me at any time for further encouragement.
Thank you for taking the time to read this message, and I hope that the AMPTP and WGA will be able to find a solution soon.
Kyle W. Kerr
Here’s another surprise!
The trailer for The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian...!!!
Looks amazing! I can’t wait...!!!
Kyle W. Kerr
Here’s the trailer for Sex and the City: The Movie!!!
Hope you enjoyed it!
Kyle W. Kerr
I would love to say that my favorite debut novels are mine and all of my friends’ who are writers… but, considering you can’t read those (yet), I’ll go with some books that are actually in print. In no particular order…
This book looked intriguing to me; the cover had a bunch of books on it, so it caught my attention, and I knew from the blurb that it was about writing, and writers and books in some way. But I never bought it. I would walk by it, stop, pick it up, and ultimately put it back down again. Yet, one day, I received it in the mail (I’m part of the Literary Guild book club, and they send you books every month), and decided to keep it. Again, I didn’t read it straight away, but let it sit for a few weeks, always picking it up when it came time to read a new book, and, again, always putting it back down. You see a pattern?
Well, I finally picked it up. And let me tell you something… I couldn’t put it back down for the life of me. There is mention of an enchanted book in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets that, once you pick it up, you can never stop reading it. Well, I’m pretty sure this was the book Ron was talking about.
It’s the story of a woman named Margaret, whose father owns a bookshop and deals in antique and rare books. She has always associated with this life, and probably gets along better with the fictional characters in her books than people in real life. She gets a letter from a very famous old writer named Vida Winter (someone on the level of, I don’t know, a mixture of Nora Roberts and JK Rowling… in level of fame and skill, not storylines), who wants Margaret to write her biography. The story of this woman’s life, I have to admit, is kind of like following Alice down the rabbit hole. With every new thing Vida tells her, the story gets weirder and crazier, but, at the same time, so very interesting. A truly amazing first novel; her second one can’t come out soon enough.
Okay, this book has been out since July of 1995, but it was still Terry’s debut novel. This is the first book in his Sword of Truth series, which just ended with its 11th book, Confessor (which debuted at #2 on the NYT bestseller list!), last month. As you can tell by the title, this is a fantasy series, which is truly a remarkable feat that Terry got on the NYT bestseller list.
This may come as a shock to some of you, but this is actually my favorite fantasy series of all time, NOT Harry Potter. (I’m just much, MUCH more obsessed with HP… there’s a difference!)
I have to admit that I bought WFR on a whim because I saw a special $2.99 paperback version of the book, and figured it couldn’t hurt.
Richard is a simple woods guide, when he stumbles upon a woman in the woods who is being chased by four men. He helps her get away, and ends up aiding in killing the four men (who ambush them, so it was self-defense). Kahlan (pronounces Kay-lin), is in search of the First Wizard from her own land, which is blocked off from Richard’s by a magic boundary (not going to get into how she got through). Then they go on a perilous journey back through the boundary, almost get killed a million times, and drama, drama, drama. Richard, Kahlan, and everyone he comes into contact with are all destined for great things, and are powerful and wonderful (in their own ways, good and bad) beyond reason. SO good, you guys.
Terry’s books are anywhere from 650-1000 pages each, and they are ALL page-turners. If you are a fantasy fan, or if you are just a fan of unbelievable fiction and superb writing, you should check out this book—and the rest of the series as well!
This book got a lot of attention when it came out a few years ago. Like The Thirteenth Tale, I would walk past it in the bookstores and never buy it. That is, until I went on a book-buying spree one day (which isn’t as unusual as it sounds… these sprees happen quite often).
Lee Fiora realizes that she doesn’t like the public school she’s going to—she doesn’t fit in—and decides that she is a much better fit at a prep school in Massachusetts (—on a side note, it has taken me 3 years to be able to spell MA in one shot… go me—). She comes from a lower, middle class family, and is only able to attend the school because she is granted a scholarship, in a place where “money was everywhere on campus, but it was usually invisible.”
Many people want to liken this novel to The Catcher in the Rye, and I can see why they would want to; Lee is an outcast and doesn’t seem to understand the basic norms of socialization (she never hires a prostitute just to talk, but does other, equally as awkward things). After reading the memoir Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison, it almost seems like Lee has Asperger’s Syndrome, which would make absolute sense.
Diane is able to get teen angst down to a science, and this was a very enjoyable read.
Has anyone not heard of this boy’s story? Well, in case you haven’t, here it is: He was home schooled and ended up graduating from high school at 15. Then, having nothing to do, he decided to see if he could write a book. (What 15-year-old wouldn’t come to the same decision faced with free-time?) So, he plotted out the storyline to what would eventually become the Inheritance Cycle (four books), the first of which was Eragon. It was first self-published for Christopher by his parents, and they went on a marketing frenzy. Eventually, it garnered the attention of Random House, who purchased the series for their Knopf imprint. The rest is kinda history.
This book, honestly, isn’t the most well written in the world, but the ideas and storyline are first class all the way. Eragon is a poor farm boy who stumbles upon, what he thinks is a precious stone, but actually turns out to be a dragon egg. It is one of only three left in the world, all others having been exterminated by the evil king. The egg hatches for him, and Eragon becomes the first Dragon Rider in a century. Now, he is being hunted by the king and his minions, and must flee to the Varden, a group of rebels fighting to overthrow the king and free the land of Alagaesia.
This was one of those books that leaves you speechless. And, for all those who have seen the god-awful movie version, it is no comparison to the book (which is better a thousand times over).
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Sounds kind of boring, doesn’t it? It’s about a historian? Well, sort of. This story is actually about vampires, and one very famous one at that (Dracula… what other famous vampires are there?).
Most of the story follows Paul, a young historian, who gets tangled in the mysterious past of one of his professors. We find out his story as he reveals it to his daughter, who has always been interested in his stories from the past and about her mother, who Paul met on this adventure to find Dracula and his missing professor. The story is also a romp through an ancient Europe, as the story goes far back in time to when Dracula was born.
I actually had the immense pleasure of meeting Elizabeth. It turns out that she worked on this book for about ten years (which makes me feel slightly better about my current six years), since she had to do so much research for the book. Plus, she’s anal, just like me. This book was amazing, and not what you would think upon hearing about it. Just like all of my blurbs in this post (and any other post where I talk about books or movies), my description does not do it justice. Just read it and see for yourself.
Duchess of Nothing by Heather McGowan
So, it’s poll time… who’s heard of this book? In all likeliness, probably none of you. I saw this book one day while perusing Barnes & Noble, and I’m usually wont to do. And there it was, just sitting there, staring at me. It was actually the cover that caught my attention, because I thought it was a really cute picture (the paperback cover is really ugly, though, by the way). So, I bought it, and didn’t regret it. This book is existentialism at its finest, and contains a lot of very dark humor.
The unnamed narrator lives with her boyfriend, Edmund, and Edmund’s 7-year-old younger brother in Rome. The narrator is never named (hence me saying “unnamed narrator”), and Edmund’s younger brother is lovingly referred to as “Edmund’s brother” throughout the text. After the first few chapters, Edmund leaves the two of them, and she is forced to look after the boy. She insists on giving Edmund’s brother an education (of sorts), and brings him around the city teaching him about life (while he looks longingly at a group of school children on a field trip to the zoo). At times she is very juvenile, and 7-year-old Edmund’s brother acts the adult in the relationship.
Through the course of the novel, you find out about the narrator’s past, and exactly how she became the way she is. The story is told from the narrator’s point of view, in a very stream-of-consciousness sort of way (with no differentiation between inner monologue, narration, and speech, which is all combined in large paragraphs). However, as chaotic as it sounds, none of these techniques diminish the book in any way, but only serve to strengthen it. Really great book and, at only 224 pages, a really fast read. And believe me, once you start reading, the narrator’s voice will suck you in so fast you won’t believe you’re reading anything, but having the thoughts yourself.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my favorite debut novels. Do me a favor and check some of them out, and let me know how you like them! Each of the novel titles is conveniently linked to their respective pages on Amazon.com, so what are you waiting for?!
Kyle W. Kerr