Meet the Characters!

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It’s not long now until DisPLACEd:Episode One (Part Two) is published on our official Wattpad page – https://www.wattpad.com/user/DisPLACEd-story, so to celebrate, we are releasing our character illustrations. Check them out through the link above, or on the official website – displacedstory.wordpress.com.

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Bear Designs – Hand-Made Items

*Please note – I am not getting paid for any of these ‘reviews’. They are merely articles to share the love and support small Australian hand-made businesses/hobbies.*

One thing that I have found while researching these Australian Hand-Made Businesses, is that their contribution to society is much more personal. Unlike big businesses that are only out to make a profit, these businesses focus on pleasing others. Here is one such independent business.

Bear Designs

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Who doesn’t like dressing up? I don’t know a kid that doesn’t. But with so many superheroes and characters, it can be difficult to keep up with the cost of buying costume after costume. This is where Bear Designs comes in.

Bear Designs was created by Nadine Bear, and stocks capes with a virtually-endless array of designs. Her product size range includes 1/2 years, 3/4 years, 5/6 years, and custom orders are welcome. Products can also include capes for teddies, and props for photography sessions.

Prices are very affordable, and the capes can easily be tucked away for further use.

I spoke with Nadine to hear how she came up with this brilliant idea.

“I came up with the idea as my son loved dress up and I could never find good quality capes with his favourite theme; so I decided to give it a go myself. I hadn’t sewn in years, and was surprised how much I loved making them.” Nadine told me.

“I first started making capes for my kids, and then friends, which then extended into people requesting all types of super capes. I decided to start up a Facebook page (found HERE) and see how it went.”

When talking about her products, Nadine said: “I do a variety of patterns/favourite characters/themes and custom orders. Basically it depends what people are looking for and their child’s favourite theme.”

Not only does she do individual sales, but also collections, for kid’s birthday parties.

As I said before, independent businesses have a closer link with their communities and and Bear Designs is no different.

“I was recently involved in a massive charity event, which I called ‘Capes for Cancer’. It was for a little boy in my son’s pre-primary class.”

“This is the reversible cape I designed with ‘C’ for childhood cancer on yellow being the gold representation and the other side being the super hero fabric. I made 70 capes for all the kids, and 15 for the teachers. It was a massive event/quiz night, to raise awareness for childhood cancer, and I managed to raise over $7000. All the kids looked amazing in their capes. Shawn Redhage from Perth Wildcats also came out on the day and chatted to the kids.”

Nadine’s final words echo those of other independent Australian Hand-Made businesses: “As I’m still a new business with a young family, I haven’t yet ventured out to the market arena, but I’m hoping to as my business grows.”

 

Writing How-To: Character Profiles

Whether you’re writing a short story, television series, movie, novel, etc., you are going to have to complete more than one character profile.

Over the years, I have completed MANY of them, and have collated a well-rounded list of character qualities to help you decide who your character is.

CLICK BELOW TO DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT:

Character Profile notes


If you can’t download the file, here are the profile notes:

CHARACTER NAME:

AGE:

ETHNICITY:

DESCRIPTION (EYE COLOUR, HAIR COLOUR, HAIR STYLE, HEIGHT, WEIGHT, BUILD, ETC.):

STYLE OF DRESS:

PHYSICAL FLAWS, ABNORMALITIES OR DISABILITIES:

SIGNIFICANT RELATIONSHIPS:

WORST MEMORY:
BEST MEMORY:

QUIRKS AND MANNERISMS:

WHAT DO THEY BRING TO THE WRITING PROJECT/HOW ARE THEY DIFFERENT FROM OTHER CHARACTERS:

WHAT PART OF THEIR PERSONALITY CAN/SHOULD CHANGE:

DO THEY WANT TO CHANGE:

WHAT ARE THEIR LITTLE, SOMETIMES UNREASONABLE, FEARS:

WHAT ARE THEY SCEPTICAL OF, AND WHY:

RELIGION/CULTURE/TRADITIONS:

WHAT DO THEY DO ON THEIR DOWN-TIME:

WHO IS/ARE THEIR BESTFRIEND/S:

WHO IS/ARE THEIR ENEMY/IES:

SKILLS:

HOBBIES:

FAVOURITE FOOD:

LEAST FAVOURITE FOOD:

FAMILY (PARENTS, SIBLINGS, ETC.):

FRIENDS:

PETS:

LIFE-SHAPING EVENTS AND THEIR LONG-TERM EFFECTS:

HAPPY/SAD CHILDHOOD:

EDUCATION:

OCCUPATION:

INTERNAL CONFLICTS:

EXTERNAL CONFLICTS:


Don’t worry if you can’t answer all of these questions yet, some of it will be decided as you go along.

Let me know how you go.


Make sure you also check out my other Writing Tips and Tricks:

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Writing How-To: Format a Script/Screenplay

If you love writing, then write. Things like formatting don’t matter until you’ve put pen to paper.

This post is about the technical formatting of your screenplay/script. I will write another post soon about what to put in your script, and how to use proper terminology.

For those that are ready, here is my step-by-step tutorial Writing How-To: Format a Script/Screenplay. I usually use a program called Movie Magic Screenwriter by Write Brothers, but I will be showing you using Word, because it’s free and still easy. I will be using a Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Band Candy script as examples throughout (don’t worry, I won’t put any major spoilers in it).

You can do it in any order, but I will be going from front to back.

Step One

TITLE PAGE

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Title and Names:
Courier New 12pt, centred, two inches (6 ‘enters’ from top margin, title in bold (sometimes underlined), names clear formatting.

Contact Info:
Courier New 12pt, flush right. Name, address, email address (professional), phone number

Step Two

CAST LIST

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Title:
Courier New 12pt, centred, two inches (6 ‘enters’ from top margin, title in bold (sometimes underlined)

Names:
Justified, clear formatting
*Regular cast (for television series) goes first, then guest stars.*

STEP THREE

SET LIST

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Title:
Courier New 12pt, centred, two inches (6 ‘enters’ from top margin, title in bold (sometimes underlined)

Text:
‘Set List’ underlined, centred
‘Interiors’ and ‘Exteriors’ underlined, justified
Rest in justified, clear formatting
*Interiors first, then Exteriors*

STEP FOUR

ACT ONE or TEASER – Page 1

Television shows have a short section at the start to introduce the main story of the episode. Films just begin with Act One.

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Title:
Courier New 12pt, centred, underlined
*Title no longer on screenplay/script pages after this*

Text:
‘Teaser’ centred, capitals
‘Interior’ or ‘Exterior’ capitals, justified
Scene, character, and action description flush left, clear formatting
Character name in capitals in description first time mentioned
Character name (dialogue header) capitals, left indent (6 ‘tab’ from left margin)
Dialogue centred, left indent (3 ‘tab’ from left margin), 10cm long

STEP FIVE

END OF ACT ONE or TEASER

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Text:
‘Fade to Black’ or ‘Black Out’ flush left, capitals
‘End Of…’ centred, capitals


So, there you go. This is how you format a screenplay/script using Word and no template. Templates are easier to use – programs are better, though – so decide wisely.

Crayola Easy Animation Studio – Product Review

When you think of animation, you think of hours of hard work to create simple second-long videos.

Not anymore.

While wandering through Target the other week, I found the Crayola Easy Animation Studio.

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It immediately caught my interest, and with it only costing $29, I figured I would give it a try.

Inside you will find – Manny the Mannequin (with a stand to clip him into), Crayola Twist crayons, a stand for your phone/tablet, and a book full of characters and backgrounds for you to colour-in. You will need to download a program on your smart-phone/tablet, but it’s free.

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Inside the book –

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*Helpful Hint*
I wanted to make something really cool, so I decided to make Captain Hammer from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (2008). Unfortunately, I used other brand crayons as well, and I think that put-off the system, so always use Crayola crayons.

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I’ll take you through step-by-step making an easy short animation.

STEP 1 – Character

Either colour your own character, or use one provided on the program.

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STEP 2 – Background

You can choose a background from the book, use one on the program, or you can even take a photo of your house and your character can be there with you.

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STEP 3 – Actions

There are a bunch of actions you can choose on the program, or you can use Manny to do it yourself. The program works by capturing images of Manny in positions, and filling in the blanks.

It works best if you keep the smart-phone/tablet still, and have Manny facing a window with light.

*Helpful hint*
You’ll have to be patient while capturing the positions, as it needs time to figure out where Manny’s limbs are (through the symbols on his limbs). Here is what happens when it is having trouble:

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To make your character wave, capture Manny in these three positions:

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STEP 4 – Voice

You don’t have to do this, but you can record some audio. I record “Hello” in my best bear-voice.

STEP 5 – Save

It only takes a second to turn it into a video.

And voilà, here is my video:

Writing How-To: Improve writing conversations

I answered this question on Quora but I thought I would expand it and make it a full blog post.

Q.  How can I get better at writing conversations?

There are a few things you should do if you want to get better at writing conversations. This can be writing for short stories, novels, screenplays, anything.

1. Listen to conversations going on around you, and write them down.

Whether you’re on the bus, in a cafe, or walking down the street, pay close attention to the conversations happening around you. Listen to the inflections in the banter, then write it down.

2. Read them aloud.

You can get a friend to help you, or do this yourself. Your ear is more likely to pick up errors, and notice if the words sound false or awkward.

3. Remove or refine dialogue tags (e.g. said, asked, replied).

You don’t need to get rid of them all, but including them at the end of every line of dialogue stunts the flow of the conversation. Once you make it clear who is talking, you can even go for short bursts without the tags altogether.

Example –

“Hey Marie, how’s it going?”

“Not too bad, you?”

“Can’t complain. Did you get that text I sent you the other night?”

“No, I didn’t.”

You can see that you don’t need the tags. The punctuation can almost tell it all.

You can also choose to refine your tags. The thesaurus is filled with helpful synonyms of ‘said’ and ‘asked’, etc. Or, better yet, include descriptions and actions after the dialogue.

Example –

“Hey Marie, how’s it going?” David asked, though he already knew the answer.

“Not too bad, you?”

“Can’t complain.” A shrug left David’s shoulders. “Did you get that text I sent you the other night?”

“No, I didn’t.” Marie shifted her gaze, unable to look him in the eye.

See? Just by adding some descriptions and actions, you bring the dialogue to life, and progress the story. We learn more about the characters and the situation.

4. Character backgrounds.

One mistake some writers make, is to make all characters sound the same. Each character has a different background, so use that. Think about:

– Born and Raised. An Australian doesn’t speak the same way as someone from New York. If English is not their primary language, are their phrases stunted?

– Education. Do they talk in slang, or technical terms. This also depends on their degree, for example, technical writing terms are very different to technical medical terms.

– How old are they? Teenagers are more likely to talk in slang and unusual terms. The elderly might not use conjunctions as often.

– Who are they talking to? What relationship do they have? Have they been in a sexual relationship before? Are they hiding a secret from them?

5. Read, read, and read some more!

All of these are important, but you really do have to make sure you read. Read a short story, read a book, read a screenplay, read a news article, read a magazine. Just read anything!

Further reading:

There are MANY blogs, books, and online tutorials that talk about this and other writing tips, tricks, and techniques.

Check out: Creative Writing Now, Writing Forward, Daily Writing Tips.