Writing in the Dark,, an apt metaphor for anyone who has ever tried to tap out words on a  backlit screen.  This book, a collection of essays gathered by Max van Manen, shows how "different kinds of human experience may be explored, the methods for investigating phenomena contributing to human experience…the process of inquiry, reflection and writing…a valuable and rich resource".   That is to say, writing is an attempt to reflect what goes on inside us.  Inside us is where "story" occurs.Scott Popjes maintains a busy schedule, writing, producing and editing major theatrical trailers, promos and EPK's and developing and producing TV series and films, such as "The Remarkably 20th Century" and "The Long Ride Home".  Born and raised in suburban New Jersey, this everyman director/editor loves making movies.Ernest Hemingway - The man who ran with the bulls.  His literary sparseness and compression, well-worn and well-earned, captured the attention of critics and public in a volatile age.  In 1952, he received the Pulitzer for The Old Man and the Sea.   In 1954, he received the Nobel Prize for his "powerful style-making mastery of the modern art of narration."  He wrote from life.  Until his life subdued and rescued him.Will Shakespeare - Aka "The bard".  Arguably the best English writer to ever glide pen to page, populist hero as well as aristocratic raconteur, though we wish he had used all women instead of all men to populate his plays.  (Not a prejudice, just a fact.)   His sonnets remain divine.  Rare is the writer who can scribble successfully in one genre, let alone two.  Some postulate this poet and playwright was, in fact, more than one man…or woman.  What would he have done with film, we wonder?Though he produced fewer than 40 paintings, Dutch painter Jan Vermeer is one of the most respected artists of the European tradition. He is known for his serene, luminous interiors populated by one or two figures. Vermeer grew up in Delft, Holland, joined the painters' guild in 1653, and worked as an art dealer to support his wife and 11 children.  In 1672, war with France ruined Holland’s economy and Vermeer's business failed.  Soon after, he died of a stroke at age 42, leaving his family bankrupt.  Vermeer's paintings were largely forgotten for nearly 200 years, until 1858 when a French critic began to write admiringly about his work.  Interest in Vermeer surged again recently with his work exhibited at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  Contemporary writers have also been inspired by him, including Tracy Chevalier whose novel Girl with a Pearl Earring imagines the life of the girl in Vermeer's painting of the same name. L.Ron Hubbard - Whatever you may think of his other worldly beliefs, the full body of L. Ron Hubbard's work includes more than 5,000 writings and 3,000 tape-recorded lectures, spanning five, highly productive decades.  A humanitarian and adventurer, he  believes, "There are only two tests of a life well lived: Did one do as one intended? And were people glad one lived?"  We add, "And can one write about it, anyhow?"Johannes Vermeer's "Lady Writing a Letter with Her Maid" records a prior chivalrous age where class decorum reigned.  (Oh, well, you can't have everything.)   One of the most talented painters in the Dutch Golden Age, that's the 1600's, Vermeer's work was forgotten for centuries.  The most brilliant artists of any century are probably never discovered, their paintings hidden till ruin, their pages dropping to dust in unfound attics.  We find this oddly comforting.  No martyr of time, this particular masterpiece hangs in the National Gallery of Ireland.  Definitely worth a gaze.Jules Verne - Ode to childhood and the player within us.  Verne was born, aptly, in Nates, France in 1828.  He promptly ran off to become cabin boy on a merchant ship but was caught and sent back to his parents.  Thus constrained, his imagination wandered.  He wrote story after story, became very rich, bought a yacht and resumed his initial intent - to sail around the world.  Or Europe anyhow.   Our favorite remains Twenty Thousand Leagues.
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MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Jeff Seeman

(Excerpts from an Interview with screenwriter Jeff Seemanregarding
the Writers Place Screenwriting Competition.)

Q: What's the title of the script you entered in this contest, and what's it about?

It’s been a few months since you interviewed me about my last contest win, for the script Mardi Gras. The new script is a rom-com called In Your Dreams. It’s about two people who meet and fall in love through a series of shared dreams, until an impending disaster gives them both 48 hours to find out whether there are real-life counterparts to their dream mates.

Q: What made you enter this particular contest? Have you entered any other contests with this script? If so, how did you do?

I entered The Writers Place contest because it was so well reviewed on MovieBytes.com. I’ve only recently finished the final polish of the script, so I’ve only entered it in a few contests. But so far it’s been a semi-finalist in two other contests and a winner in this one. 

Q: Were you satisfied with the administration of the contest? Did they meet their deadlines? Did you receive all the awards that were promised?

Yes, the administration of the contest was very professional. After I won, they communicated with me just about every day to make sure I received all the awards, to make sure the announcement on their web site was just the way I wanted it, etc. I was very impressed by how professional and accommodating they were.

Q: Were you given any feedback on your script? If so, did you find the feedback helpful?

Yes. I was told to rewrite the whole script, make it twice as long, cut out all the funny parts, change all the dialogue to incoherent mumbling, and change the two main characters to gay cowboys.  And I said, “But that’s ridiculous!” Shows how much I know.

Q: Has your success in this contest helped you market your script? Were you contacted by any agents, managers or producers?

Not so far. But then the contest win was just announced, while pretty much everyone in Hollywood was away at Sundance.

Q: What's your background? Have you written any other screenplays or television scripts?

Before I started writing screenplays I was a novelist. Before that I performed stand-up comedy in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Boston. Before that I was editor of the Cornell Lunatic, Cornell University’s answer to the Harvard Lampoon, and before that I wrote short stories. Before that I was an artist, working mostly in finger paints. Before that I was an embryo.

Q: Do you live in Los Angeles? If not, do you have any plans to move there?

Yes, I live in Los Angeles, which is why I write screenplays. As I mentioned last time you interviewed me, it’s actually the law here; if you’re not working on a screenplay, you’re legally required to move to Fresno.

Q: What's next? Are you working on a new script?

Yes, as a matter of fact, I am. This time I’m going to try something completely different. I’m working on a new horror/black comedy which I really think will kill.