Man standing on top of mountain. Photo courtesy StockVault, Jack Moreh

Just A Little Longer

This morning I listened to an I Should Be Writing podcast this morning (I'll admit I've been off the podcast wagon for a bit). I've been in a bit of a creative rut, and Mur…

Support Shriekfest!

Back in 2003 I was coming back to creative pursuits after a long absence. I had a run on screenplay contests that year, beginning with being a finalist in the Shriekfest Film Festival. If you're…

Mason laying bricks on a walkway

Have Pride in Your Work

A while back I used to teach college level English classes. Several were introductory level courses - how to write a college research paper. Every class had a few people who would ask "does spelling…

Group of LIKE signs

Is This Worth Writing?

In several writing groups I follow I see writers of all levels pinging the group asking whether a given concept would be worth writing. I think the basic advice is obvious - sit your ass…

Overcoming Your Artistic Fears

I met up with an old friend who's looking to get back into his creative pursuits. During the course of the conversation it was clear to me that he's nervous about getting back to indulging…

Photo of a camera.

Being a Good Crew Member

Last weekend I was scouting a location with a couple of other local filmmakers. I'm giving these guys a hand helping to line up the location - most of what I did was show them…

Swiss Army Knife with blades extended

Avoiding the Slog

It was a post by a fellow filmmaker in a group I watch with a cautionary tale: his film took a long time to shoot. When he finally finished, his editor partially finished the project…

Delivering on Story Promises

When you write something creative - anything creative - you have a contract with your audience. In the crucial first pages you're setting the stage for everything to come. You need to deliver on the…

Checkin: The Trip Animated Movie, July 2017

This marks year two since I started my journey to produce an animated movie based on THE TRIP. Animation isn't something you enter into lightly. I estimated at the start of the project it would…

A Time To Build

Back when I was publishing The Trip, I made a big mistake. I sat on starting an audience until after the book launched. In this post I figured I'd share some of my advice about…

Against the Best

Everyone feels insecure when up against the best. - Kurt Belcher, zombies, props and backgrounds, THE TRIP - THE ANIMATED MOTION PICTURE. We just recorded a session for my first feature, THE TRIP - THE…

The Value of the Crazy-Ass Plans

I saw a post over on Quora that resonated with me. This person was talking about a girl they had a crush on and how they could get over this. I posted my advice to…

The Power of Music

Back when I was in college, we'd occasionally have a professor come in and play classical music while we were studying. They would tell us this helped us concentrate. These little interludes never lasted long,…

Throwing the Patterns Away

I've mentioned story patterns before - back in On Patterns and Story we dove deep into the topic. Today I'd like to take another look at the subject and talk about when and why you…

What’s in a Name (Character Edition)

One of the most important things in writing fiction is choosing the names for your characters. Since this comes up on a weekly basis in several writing groups I follow, I figured it's time for…

The Leap

This marks year two of my multi-year project to bring my novel THE TRIP to life as an animated movie. It's been a long, tough project but I'm feeling like things are coming together nicely.…

The Value of Community

I'm heading for a writing conference this weekend, and I'm really excited about it. If you've never been to a conference or a writing group, let's explore the topic in this post. I'm Not Ready…

Silhouette of a person's head with gears turning inside

That Which Is Not Explained

Watch enough movies and read enough books, and you're bound to run into some ambiguous themes - where something is important to the story, quickly touched upon, and then that's it. Audiences will go along…

The Secret Adaptation Formula

Every so often I meet other writers who hear I write novels, comics and screenplays. They're interested in taking their work from one format and adapting it to another. This is a great exercise and…

The Open Minds

It's almost Oscar time as I'm working on this post, and a recent episode of The Creative Penn got me thinking about my journey into animation. I think the lessons would benefit some of you…

The Energy Bucket

This post started as yet another rant about how you need to work to achieve artistic success. I thought about the other version of this post most of the day and decided I'm going to…

How Much Description?

I don't see people talk often about how much you need to describe your characters, to this time around let's talk about it. The rules are different across screenplays and prose - if you don't…

The Hard Road

A friend of mine is working on a horror story. In it he has a female protagonist and he questioned whether the trials he was putting her through were too tough...so let's explore what we…

Silent Characters

Back in Talking the Talk I started a discussion about dialog. This time around I'd like to give you some food for thought - there are some memorable characters that don't talk. Done right these…

Chappie: Robot Scifi Done Well

I was a huge fan of DISTRICT 9, and when I saw Neill Blomkamp was directing another scifi feature I hoped it would deliver on the high quality of his previous film. I was not…