Friday, March 14, 2014

Writing Experiments - A (dystopian) Music Video???



#writingexperiments     #videotreatments          #bhoward              #teambhoward               #iDoIt
You guys know writers love experimenting! I wrote an entire webseries (140 minutes & 7 episodes coming soon btw) called Deathday just to see if I could, learned the code and created an extensive Wikipedia page, which got 1800 hits in the last three days:

This time I’m sharing a Music Video Treatment for B. Howard’s song, “I Do It”. It’s going to be a massive tune and I got to thinking, what if its music video got the Elizabeth Amisu treatment?…

We begin with a newspaper headline: ‘Dance Is The Devil!’ which blows through an empty street. Dancing is a crime, punishable by death. The world is grey and cold: think Fincher’s ‘Fight Club’ (1999) and cut to “B”, a young guy, who wakes up in the middle of the night with a smile. He gets out of bed fully-dressed and makes his way out the house and through dimly streets to…

An odd-looking building. He looks around to check he’s not being followed and walks up the stairs to a pokey hole in the wall. An eye peers through the hole, B peers back. He shows him the eye this symbol on his palm: Δ******. We follow him inside…

Where kidz are dancing. The Δ****** symbol is everywhere – on their clothes, tattooed onto their skin. They are all wearing earphones (for the Gathering must be silent) while showing off mad moves going on. B takes off his jacket, puts on his earphones and begins to dance, mesmerising them. He’s the star of their underground movement.

As he’s just killing it, the girl of his dreams, let’s call her D (rhymes with B, right?) comes over and starts to dance with him. When…

The room is suddenly overrun with cops. They've been caught! B grabs D and runs with her through the room, protecting her. Then he turns to see she’s been taken! Oh No! She struggles with the officers. He looks around desperately for what to do, then takes a deep breath, clicks his fingers and the cop holding her drops to the ground.

B is superhuman.

He spreads his arms and as he lifts them, every cop in the room collapses.

All the kidz and D just stare at him, terrified. B smiles back. Then he motions to D and she takes his hand. Together, they flee the building. All the kidz follow. Disappearing into the city. End.
  1. Goals and Set Parameters. The message of the video is that dance is beautiful and conformity sucks (lol). Its core message is about individuality and the hidden treasures within a person. It’s for all who love Marvel superheroes and also listen to Justin Timberlake. The desired outcome is for young people to feel uplifted. It can be made on a shoe-string budget and would utilise the talents of the dancers mostly. It should last approximately 5-7 minutes.
  2. What’s the Concept?  In a world where dance is seen as evil, one guy fights back.
  3. What’s the Approach? A cold dark noir style, contrasting the warmth of B. Howard’s previous video, Dancefloor, with a sci-fi edge.
LEAVE A COMMENT: What do you think? How would you recreate the music video to your favourite song?

Writer and academic, Elizabeth Amisu, victor (in the Hunger Games sense) of the 2013/2014 'Beat the Author' competition, is a screenwriter and novelist. Check out her website, Writing Eliza, to find out more.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

What Makes a Great Sci-Fi World?

'Antiviral', 'In Time' and 'Looper'. #scifi #writing #filmclub #article
Over the last few months I’ve been watching (and reading) a ton of science-fiction. My twelve-month total of films-watched currently stands at over 200, a number I’m padding out with a ridiculous number of television episodes. It got me thinking about why I some Sci-Fi worlds stand out so much more than others.


'Antiviral' was directed by Bryan Cronenberg in 2012. The key to this film world, or diegesis - fancy word, I know, is the focus on celebrity, where people in the future want celebrity pathogens inside them. Yes, you heard me right - pathogens are the things that give you colds and fevers, germs basically. People in this film buy them to feel close to celebrities.
It makes perfect sense that it wouldn’t be enough for human beings, to simply devour celebrity on television with their eyes, they would want to consume their flesh on a molecular level too. The creepy thing about the entire premise of the film is that it is all biological possible.
The second film world is Andrew Niccol’s ‘In Time’ (2011), set in a world where everyone stops ageing in their twenties and gets just one year of ‘life’. After that they have to earn more time to live, otherwise they die. Literally, time is money. People can steal each other’s time the way they steal each other’s money, and of course, there’s a cruel divide between those who have vast time, and those who have nearly none.
The key to ‘In Time’, the key component I love most about its world is that the fact that people stop ageing in their twenties. Imagine a world where your parents, grandparents and you all look the same age. Take physical ageing out of the equation and how do we relate?
The final film world in my trio is ‘Looper’, directed by Rian Johnson (2012). What I love the most about this one is that time travel is treated as something organic. The world raises all the right questions and answers only some of them. Perfect. If we truly had the technology, this is most logically how people would go about using it, for criminal ends.
So what makes a great Sci-Fi World?
1) ORIGINALITY - It has to be something we haven’t quite seen before, or seen in this way.

 2) BELIEVABILITY - It has to be plausible. The best fiction lies on the cusp of scientific reality.

 3) MORALITY - It has to make us question our own ethics, forcing us to think, what would we do if?
What are your favourite Sci-Fi Worlds? Tell us by leaving a comment below.

Writer and lecturer, Elizabeth Amisu was a winner in the Southend Literary Festival in 2010 and the Short Story competition in 2012. Her fiction focuses on supernatural cities and alternative families. Check out Elizabeth's website, Writing Eliza, to receive an exclusive chapter and join her mailing list.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Epic Reads/ Harper Collins Children's Books

The 15 Most Anticipated YA Books for early 2014

1. Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi
On sale January 28th

2. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
On sale January 14th

3. Evertrue by Brodi Ashton
On sale January 21st

4. Uninvited by Sophie Jordan
On sale January 28th

5. Enders by Lissa Price
On sale January 7th

6. Infinite by Jodi Meadows
On sale January 28th

7. Unhinged by A.G. Howard
On sale January 7th

8. Erased by Jennifer Rush
On sale January 7th

9. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
On sale January 28th

10. Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd
On sale January 28th

11. The Unbound by Victoria Schwab
On sale January 28th

12. The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
On sale January 7th

13. Avalon by Mindee Arnett
On sale January 21st

14. Vitro by Jessica Khoury
On sale January 14th

15. Fragile Spirits by Mary Lindsey
On sale January 23rd

Thursday, October 3, 2013



Come on now, tell us your biggest fear.

Spill the beans, give us the goods, don't be... scared!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Recommend a Good Book

     Stephen King... is the arguably the most popular and influential author of modern times. Chances are, you have probably read one of his books or have at least seen a movie based on his work. (If you haven't, get a life already!)

*BTW fellow King fans* Dr. Sleep, Stephen King's sequel to his huge hit The Shining, is NOW AVAILABLE!!

     His books are always so original- just when you think that every plot idea has already been written about, Stephen King comes out with a new twist on subject that leaves you wondering where he comes up with all of these ideas!
     As a writer, I have often wondered  how he comes up with all of his uniquely creepy ideas...
     Does he sit in his bathtub at night with a bottle of whiskey and just daydream? Does he make a list of ideas? Does he bounce ideas off his wife, who is also a novelist? Does he write down his dreams (nightmares more likely in his case)?
     In 2000, he wrote On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, and in 2010,  he published a 10th Anniversary Edition.
      This is a great book to learn how the master author thinks about writing. It also reads like a novel (not dry at all) and talks about how he grew up and became interested in writing. I love this book and have read it several times; I highly recommend it!
     What books have you read lately that you would recommend?

Friday, August 30, 2013

Driving me CRAZY!!


So, you have to be toted around by your mom.  Ouch. Can you say, lame? And please don't tell me that you go on a dates with your mom as a chaueffer.

I remember those days! Boy it's hard to be cool and tough when you can't drive.

Getting a license is like growing wings; it enables you to get up and go! Suddenly it is fun to just DRIVE! 

"Where?" you ask.
Who cares! Let's just hit the road...
Ah, those were the days! I remember saving for two years to buy my first car. My boss was selling his SPITFIRE convertible... and I had saved enough cashola to buy it!

I wanted that car SO BADLY!! But my parents said, "NO!"
In fact, they told me I had to give the two thousand and some dollars (that I had washed dishes for 2 years to save) to them so they could buy me a SAFE car...
Of course, this, is what they bought me - with my own hard earned money!
Oh the Humanity!
A Station wagon? What were my parents thinking?
Well, I'm a parent now,  and I know exactly what they were thinking, "Dear Lord that boy is going to kill himself in that Spitfire!"
Maybe they were right- I probably would have driven too fast and who knows...
But a station wagon? Come on!!
A year or so later I bought a cool old '79 Ford 150- one of the chefs where I worked financed it for me. He even rebuilt the carborator for me (He put a few pieces in up-side-down, but I didn't hold it against him!).
I painted a skull in sunglasses smoking a cigarette on each door with smoke trailing down the side of the truck and turning into a screaming ghost!
I painted a skull and cross bones on all 4 hubcap covers...
Yes, it was hideous!
Hideously beautiful, that is!
I even wrote that truck into my novel, THE RIFT RIDERS!
Man I miss that old truck!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Roads? Where We're Going, We Don't Need Roads

I got my driver's license in high school because it was something I was supposed to do, a rite of passage. For some kids, I suppose learning to drive, earning your license, and getting your first car represented freedom, but it didn't really mean all that much to me -- there was no way I could afford to buy a car any time soon. But all my friends were getting their licenses, it was what you did when you turned 16, and it was just another test I could study for and pass. (I totally aced the written exam, by the way, because I was a complete nerd.)

My mother didn't have a driver's license, despite several attempts to pass the road test, so we didn't even have a car to practice with, or someone to teach me, and no hope of affording a car for me even if I had a license. But she didn't want me to be in the same situation as an adult (besides, being able to drive might come in handy in a zombie apocalypse, if you can find gas), so she paid for expensive driving lessons -- money we really couldn't spare.

Driving was scary, and I didn't like it. Not only was I nervous because I was responsible for not killing people with the deadly missile I was steering, but I also had to trust that no one else on the road was going to cause an accident. I'm not a very trusting sort. Driving just seemed a little too unpredictable for my taste, but I got over (most of) my fears and slowly learned how to drive.

In all honesty, I probably shouldn't have passed my road test, but the woman with the clipboard was nice, the kind you never see in the movies. And I lucked out on the parallel parking portion of the exam; it had recently snowed, so it was hard to see how far from the curb I was, or if I was even lined up with it. (Too far, and not exactly.) Good enough for government work, as they say.

So I got my license, but I had no car to drive, and I promptly went to college in New York City, where having a car is more of a burden than a benefit. I ended up living in the city for another 15 years, not driving. And anyway, even if I had access to a car, I prefer taking mass transit whenever possible, which lets me read or nap or play video games and is seemingly safer than being on the highway with other people who potentially hadn't been behind the wheel of a car since they got their license. My few attempts to drive in the past decade did not go well. (Don't worry, the only casualty was my pride.)

But here I am, living in a more suburban area of Philadelphia where a car is more necessary, but I still don't feel comfortable behind the wheel -- and I'm starting to feel kind of embarrassed about that. So I've been practicing a bit when I can, and I'm planning to take an adult driver refresher course so my license to drive doesn't become a license to kill. But for the moment, as it has been for many years, that little plastic card is just a handy form of government-issued identification.

I know plenty of people my age who don't have a driver's license, or are in the process of learning to drive, so I wonder just how important it really is to most teens. I bet it depends on where you live and whether you have the luxury of learning how to drive and owning a car. Is this rite of passage really as universal as it appears in movies and television, or are many people happy with bicycles, trains, and buses? (Strangely enough, I also didn't have a bike as a kid and didn't learn to ride until my 20s. And I can't quite swim. Really, how have I gotten by for all this time?)