A movie review? What the hell was that?

In what was sort of a first for the Mojo Wire, the previous post was a review for a short film hosted online -- specifically [like you've forgotten already] "Contact" by Jeremiah Kipp.

This is new feature, and something that only cropped up because of the two weeks of guest blogs that was hosted here featuring the Top Ten Horror Films of the Past Decade. As some may remember, one of those lists was compiled by my friend and occasional Fangoria writer Audrey Quaranta, well, Kipp just so happened to also be a contributor to the magazine, and asked if I'd review "Contact" here on the website for him. I was really surprised to be asked to do something like that, but I'm not totally without experience in the area [ah, the broken dreams of a high school journalist/movie reviewer], and thought it would be a really awesome way to follow up Horror Week in some way. Mind you, the Mojo Wire is far from being Final Girl, or anything quite that awesome, but I enjoyed the experience a lot, and am considering including reviews for other things [perhaps even unsolicited ones] in the future.

Obviously, I'd like to thank a few people. Audrey, again, for doing her top ten list, which no doubt got me on Kipp's radar. Jeremiah Kipp himself, for approaching me to review the film [which I thoroughly enjoyed, if you couldn't tell]. I also owe my oft-badgered friend John Wiswell a big thank you for helping me edit the review, along with fellow Bennington alum/journalist Sarah Crow. I'm always glad that John is my go-to guy in these situations where I need a master wordsmith, and Sarah is, by all definitions, a real editor and the notes she sent me were the kind that I wish I got from everyone who looked at my stuff. Between the two of them, the "Contact" review is one of my more polished pieces, and I'm very pleased with it -- and plan on integrating it into my writing portfolio, if I ever actually get around to making one of those.

To anyone else who might be reading, if you're a director, if you're a writer, if you're an illustrator, or animator [or know anyone who is one of those things], and you produce something you'd like to have reviewed [be it movie, short, comic, or cartoon], feel free to send me links to your material, and I would be glad to review it here, and plug it copiously. Though reviewing things was never my intention with this blog, discussing creative works does lend itself to analyzing the creative process, and I'd like to do more of that. Don't be afraid to ask -- I really would love to do it, and be exposed to some things I may not have found on my own.

Other things. I haven't been sleeping well, and so have spent the bulk of my free time working on "Nova," trying to trim the page count down -- if you've talked me in the past week or so, or if you're unfortunate enough to follow me on Twitter, you've probably noticed I haven't had much more to talk about than that. Which isn't to say that there nothing else going on in my life -- there have been the usual errands and chores, and some other, less pleasant things [re: Dad's death certificate finally arriving, 9 months later], but I've been trying to throw myself into the writing. Agonizing over page count, and doing re-writes is unpleasant in a lot of ways, but it's a far more bearable unpleasantness than a lot of other things going on right now.

Plus, it makes me think of Steven. One the first real lessons Bach imparted in screenwriting 101 was "sweating" pages down -- taking out a word here, or simplifying a phrasing there. You never want to do it to the point that the screenplay itself is less charming or less readable, but in a pinch, you find a couple of pages lost just to formatting by hanging sentences, or unnecessary beats, or even giving direction for things you just don't have to. Best comparison I can think of is packing a suitcase, and how folding your shirts just so can get you that extra pair of pants in too. And it's real brain-dead work until rephrasing and rewriting comes into it, which gives me a rare moment "off."

So the plan has been to turn 32 pages into 25, and about two of those were gotten by straight-sweating. The rest have been cuts and rewrites, which are never exactly fun on a project you thought you were finished with [seriously, this is effectively, a 8th or 9th draft for "Nova"], and I'm now a page and six or seven lines away from my intended goal. That's right -- "Nova's" just over 26 pages.

Almost there. And I'm at the point now where I'm just asking for extra sets of eyes. Anyone interested, let me know. And anyone who read "Nova" back when it was finished the first time is also welcome to take a look at the new version when it's finished. I'm vaguely paranoid that to slim down, I may have butchered it. So, if anyone can stand to read it again, allay my fears.

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