IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY TRAILERS!
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Trailer #2 2017
Where are you from?
I don’t know that I am ‘from’ anywhere. I was born on an army base, Fort Belvoir, in Northern Virginia, then grew up as a young child in my mother’s hometown of Hickory, North Carolina. Then it was back to Northern Virginia, living near the Bull Run battlefield in Manassas. 150 years ago, men from all over the country came here – twice – to duke it out. Now,.people come there from all over the country so they can commute to their government or technology centered jobs, which my dad had.
Since then, the army took me across the country and to South Korea, and as a civilian I have lived in Kansas, North Carolina (again), El Paso, TX and now Tucson, Arizona. What does it mean to be from a place? I am amalgamated from all of those places and many more besides: the Corleone compounds in New York and Lake Tahoe; Discovery One, on it’s ill fated journey to Jupiter; even Desi and Lucy’s Manhattan apartment.
I come from a tribe of wanderers.
Wow! You are literally a man of many places.
Do you write screenplays and novels?
I am a screenwriter, but I did begin work on a novel in 2014 that I completely pantsed. It is a zombie dystopia (of course) told in the first person from several perspectives; my favorite was the young woman in her late teens from Pacific Palisades, California, a wealthy beachside community of Los Angeles. The good and evil groups meet up in Las Vegas, in an homage to Stephen King’s The Stand.
That’s really cool that you’re a screenwriter.
Which do you like more?
Screenplays. They are a novel distilled to it’s essence. Put a novel in the dryer on too high heat: a screenplay results.
I love the visual!
How is writing screenplays different from fiction?
The biggest differences are texture and subplots. A novel, which could be a thousand pages, could have endless subplots. A screenplay can have two or three if it is long enough, but all the narrative drive has to be supplied by the main plot; there is barely space for anything else.
Texture is the novel’s greatest strength over the screenplay. Take It, for example. King spends an enormous amount of time detailing several horrifying events in the past of the town. Gradually it becomes clear to the reader that the town has been inculcated in the evil of It. If you watch the mini series, however, that is nowhere to be found, as there is not enough time.
Texture in a film is all a result of the scene and the decorative elements thereof. Take the opening of The Godfather. It is not by accident that it begins at Connie’s wedding, nor that it is seen through the eyes of Kay, the outsider. It allows Coppola to import texture so that we get a feel for what it means to be Italian American in the 40s, before we commence with the story proper, as it were. The fact that Don Vito is feared by so many, but gently cradles his cat: that is the distillation process in full effect.
Wow. This is amazing to see the difference between the two. I’m beginning to notice the nuances between the two mediums. Funny you mentioned the Godfather because I just got the audiobook.
What’s the hardest thing about being a filmmaker?
The hardest thing about filmmaking is not filmmaking at all: it is financing. When people give you money, they tend to want it back, plus a profit. There are now just two entry points into ‘the system’. The first is make a cheap horror film. Horror does not require ‘names’, nor does it require lots of money. It does not even require a great script. All it needs is a great hook. Don’t Breathe, which came out recently, has a fantastic hook: a group of punks rob a soldier who is blind but has the keenest hearing and really objects to people breaking in. Or It Follows, from last year, which takes the horror formulation of sex = death to its logical conclusion.
The other way is to write a great screenplay for a name, which can then secure the financing. An example would be Brick, Rian Johnson’s amazing debut, which sets a film noir in a high school. This came to the attention of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who was looking for a project to allow him to be taken seriously. It worked out great for both (you may have heard of Johnson’s latest project: Star Wars VIII?).
Wonderful! I think Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a great actor and chock full of talent. Then for Rian Johnson to have a ‘project’ such as Star Wars VIII is nothing short of amazing.
What are your Top 5 favorite movies and what makes them great?
Very tough. I will go with The Godfather, Part II,directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The rare, perhaps only sequel to better it’s predecessor, G2 is the tale of father and son and the huge differences between them. The two key scenes are the old woman being kicked out of her apartment because the rent will be $30 and the landlord hates her dog. Vito first asks the landlord for a favor: tell the woman the rent is 25 and come see him for the rest. Plus, please let her keep the dog. The landlord refuses. Vito kindly asks him to change his mind. The man refuses. Vito Corleone, the most powerful man in Little Italy, debases himself to come to a mutual solution. Only once the man realizes what he has done – and to whom – does Vito apply the screws, but even then, he praises the man for being so generous. Why make an enemy needlessly?
Compare to the son, who upon hearing the demands of the Nevada senator for a gaming license, arrogantly tells the senator will give him the license and get nothing in return, because Michael knows he can set the senator up and make him grateful for Michael’s help. Why spend money needlessly?
If the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, G2 makes clear that Michael’s apple landed on the slope of a hill and managed to roll far away.
Dr. Strangelove, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, directed by Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick succinctly and hilariously shows how war begins. It is banal, tragic, petty and most of all absurd. What I love most is the cognitive dissonance Kubrick initiates: we root for the War Room to shoot down the last B-52, but we also root for the intrepid, brave flight crew, which is determined to carry out their duty, culminating in the famous ride of Slim Pickens, riding the bomb like a bucking bronco to the extinction of the human race.
Wild Strawberries, directed by Ingmar Bergman. Ostensibly a road movie of a man getting a ride from his daughter-in-law to get a lifetime achievement award, it is actually about the man’s life, it’s mistakes and tragedies and his feeble attempts to keep his son from making the same mistakes. The way Bergman literally intertwines the past and the present is shot through with emotionality.
Stray Dog, directed by Akira Kurosawa. A cop in Tokyo loses his gun; the man responsible for taking it goes on a rampage. Though made in 1949, it has modern narrative sensibilities. Seven, for example, feels very much like it in atmosphere and in the hot headedness of its protagonist (Toshiro Mifune). It is set in August in Tokyo and everything is sweating, seemingly. The heat is very much on Mifune to get his gun back and stop a murderer.
Monsoon Wedding, directed by Mira Nair. This film does what only the magic of story can. It takes a very specific situation (an extended Punjabi family preparing for a wedding) and lets us see the universality of it. Once we recognize what we have in common with them,which is much, we can appreciate the ways we are different – and accept them. Starting with this point of empathy, we can celebrate the ways this Indian family are different from us. The story is very common (there are only a handful of story forms), but it is the specifics – the jumble of Mumbai, the idiosyncratic romance of the wedding planner and the family servant, how cell reception is awful in India – it is a joyous riot.
Nice starting five. I’ve only seen the Godfather, but that was many years ago.
Your favorite sports?
My favorite sports are NHL hockey (go Washington Caps!), major league baseball (go Washington Nats!) and NFL football (go Washington Skins!).
Who’s going to win the Superbowl?
The Patriots are undefeated despite starting nobodies at quarterback. When Brady comes back, how are they going to be stopped? They have to be the favorite right now.
Your least favorite team?
My least favorite team across all sports is the Dallas Cowboys, followed by the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals. May they all have a bad end.
Name a few movies you’re dying to see.
Birth of a Nation; Manchester by the Sea; Doctor Strange (Marvel plus Benedict Cumberbatch should equal can’t miss); Passengers; La La Land wasn’t one I was anticipating, but it won the top prize at the Toronto Film Festival – as have the last four Best Picture winners, so I want to see what the fuss is about; and finally, always: the next under the radar horror movie.
Definitely looking forward to seeing Marvel’s Dr. Strange with Benedict Cumberbatch. Passengers looks like a winner, and of course, Star Wars VIII!!
You’re a writer; so what’s your story, or
what inspired you?
I got started writing at 7 when I wrote a story about a leprechaun. I think (either a leprechaun or an elf). My teacher said it was a good story. Then, as now, I take some things completely literally. If my teacher thought I had a good story, then I needed to sell that story. My friend suggested we get copies made, which involved some parental logistics but soon I had my copies and went door to door, selling my story for a quarter. Not a single person bought, which is mystifying and heartless (when an eight year old comes to your door selling an elf story for a quarter, you give the kid a quarter). I did not take any rejection from this – my teacher said it was a good story.
I started writing my first screenplay at 15, but didn’t finish. 12 years later, I started another script and finished – 4 years later. The third time I stole the structure from Richard III, so it only took about a year and the time has dropped since for a first draft.
I always find it rather amazing how some people begin writing so young.
What’s your GOAL in becoming a writer?
My goal is first, to just make something a quality. After that, it is to be produced. Further, to produce my own scripts. Finally, to dethrone Gone With The Wind as the all time domestic box office champ. All I need is a movie capable of making $1.7 billion…
That’s a pretty lofty goal, yikes!
What 3 things have hindered you from completing your projects? (CONFLICT)
I have been stymied by: low budgets. The Richard III script was produced for nothing and it became a boring movie. I began shooting for better funded producers, but I needed much higher quality scripts. So I have worked over the past several years to become a higher quality writer. Finding these producers amenable to my script genre also has been stymying.
Sounds like a tough business, even harder than publishing novels.
What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream? (DESIRE)
I have no choice but to tell stories, even if only to read to Jehovah’s Witnesses who have stopped by for coffee.
Sounds like you’re very determined!
What’s your ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way?
Some of my antagonists: Laziness. I can slide form my writing for the day for various reasons. Work is a big one as well: I generally work 28 or 29 days a month, for around 10-14 hours. It doesn’t leave much time to write, particularly if the lazy grabs me.
I know this all too well. Once the tank is tapped, that’s it. A couple of days ago I saw a bumper sticker that read: MAKE USE OF YOUR ENERGY
I’ve been thinking about it ever since.
Why do writers give up, quit or never complete their projects?
Discouragement. Rejection. Discovering they aren’t very good. My dad did a lot of writing, for maybe 10 years, then he just stopped and did other things. I never asked him why; I think I was afraid of the answer. I didn’t think he was very good, and I worry I led him to stop.
These are all too familiar.
What would you say to a struggling writer?
(I think) What, exactly, does it mean to struggle? There is no end to ‘the struggle’. The Buddha tells us that life is struggle and pain. I would direct this writer to Stephen King, who was nearly killed; is that not struggle? Brad Pitt had everything until September, 2016, when his wife abruptly left; is that not pain? After Michael Jackson made the biggest album of all time, the only question was: how are you going to top it?
This writer, they think they struggle now. Their struggles will be unceasing. Their nature may change. Stephen King’s struggle is gathering the cash to buy the Boston Red Sox or whatever. Oh my God, the Rolls Royce needs a new engine!
There will always be struggle. Many, perhaps most, writers, successful or not, stare at the blank page or a story problem, and wonder the same thing: is this it? Will I ever write again? This is the one where they discover I’m a fraud.
The only cure for your struggles is to keep writing. At which point your struggle will change: how do I market this book? How do I find an honest financial advisor? Should I buy or rent a private jet? How do I increase tourism to my private island? #TheStruggleContinues
*Were you born and raised in Wisconsin?
Meg Bonney: Yes, I was! I work in Illinois and often get asked why I don’t just move there, but I am in love with Wisconsin. My town is right on Lake Michigan and the lakefront is gorgeous. I can’t imagine moving away from it.
It sounds like a nice place. I should have asked you for pictures!
*Which diva cat rules the household?
That would be my older cat, Sammy. He is the less dominate cat between my two kitties, but Sammy is the most demanding of his humans, for sure. He will meow at you and jump on the counters if he can see the bottom of his food dish. He is a snuggler but gets so mad when you move. He’s a total diva.
Wow. Sounds like a domineering feline-diva cat snuggler. Yikes!
*What did you study in college?
I went to school for Paralegal studies. I work for a large company in the Mergers and Acquisitions legal department. It’s really fast paced and keeps me on my toes.
Oh cool! I enjoy legal stuff. We’re going to get along just fine. Sherrie, another blog-buddy of mine is also a paralegal.
*Why did you pick to write YA Fantasy?
That’s always been what I gravitated towards as a reader and as a writer. I think that there is something more magical about those teen years before you are slammed with actual real life problems. It’s just a much more emotional time and I love writing characters at that age. And Fantasy is just plain fun. I take the firm stance that real life is boring. Fairies, goblins and magic just make anything more exciting.
I’ll completely affirm, that life is rather boring at times. Mundane even. That’s why being a writer is so much FUN! You can live an adventurous life over and over again.
*Tell us about your upcoming Everly Trilogy
Everly is the story of Madison Rosewood and her quest to save her aunt. She and her best friend, Jason must travel to a hidden world called Everly where Aunt Ruth is taken in order to save her from a terrible fate. Once they get there, Madison comes to realize that Everly holds all of the answers she has been searching for about her family and her past. Book 1, which will be out later this year, introduces you to the world of Everly and the emotional struggles that Madison must face when she gets there. Book 2 and Book 3 will continue to chronicle her journey as she tries to figure out where she fits in and how to manage the devastating events of Book 1.
I like your premise! Sounds very interesting and adventurous. Love the name Everly. It gives it a nice fantastical feel.
*Can you give us a snippet about the protagonist?
Madison lives on a tiny Florida island with her icy, fitness trainer Aunt Ruth and her cousin. Madison is the star athlete on her school’s track team. Even though she is a gifted runner, she has no passion for it and yearns for something more. Her life goal has always been to find her birth parents and escape the constant work outs and self defense classes that her Aunt makes her participate in. She is withdrawn and snarky to everyone but her best friend and constant companion, Jason. She is outspoken and doesn’t care what anyone thinks about her. She is far from perfect but always tries hard to do right by the ones she loves.
YES. I feel like I’m already drawn into the story. Love the dynamics of the relationships here. I was just reflecting on this today actually. Our characters and the ones we love in our favorite books round out in dynamic relationships. Just think of Sherlock and Watson. Stories or movies that have a great sidekick are more enjoyable than the typical lone wolf hero.
*Which medium do you enjoy more, reading or TV?
That’s so hard! I guess I would have to say reading because your imagination has no budget. But TV is great because of the community aspect, especially when you are watching a show live and you can discuss and theorize together. That’s very fun!
I can’t wait to ask you more questions since you’re a TV buff. I’ve been enjoying comparing and contrasting the two mediums a lot recently. One of my favorite authors, K.M. Weiland, will be posting an analysis about the movie Avenger Civil War this week. If you’re so inclined, check out her site: Helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com
*Who are your favorite TV characters and what do you enjoy about them?
I love Buffy Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She is flawed yet strong and faces her destiny with determination even though her lot in life isn’t always fair. She is one of the greatest television characters ever. I also really like Bellamy Blake from The 100. He tries so hard to do the right thing but is tragically misguided and makes some pretty terrible decisions. I love characters that want to be the good guys but have a hard time aligning their goals with their morals.
Please don’t stone me, but I haven’t seen Buffy the Vampire Slayer yet. I’ve always been the slow one in the family. Go figure. BUT I LOVE BELLAMY and the entire 100 series. I was so hooked on the first two seasons!!! Then I dropped off the map for some reason.
*Who are your favorite fictional characters and what do you enjoy about them?
Hermione Granger. She goes from stuck up young girl to brilliant young woman over the course of the story and its captivating. Her journey is still one of my favorites. I also really like Batman. He is just so complex and the older I got, the more I grew to appreciate how messed up he really is. He is one of the most emotionally screwed up heroes out there and that makes him super interesting to me.
Hermione certainly sounds popular. Not acquainted with her either, but I have a feeling I will be pretty soon. Batman is once of the best characters ever crafted. Definitively a timeless classic that keeps coming back again and again. Even the whole story of Batman is classical. Gotham city with its backstory, villains, police department etc. Gotham the television series is also EPIC. Loved it until I fell off the map again.
I got a kick out of your appreciation for Batman’s twisted emotional state. Because we can totally relate to these “screwed up” characters. That’s why I never could relate to Superman. He too *super* if you know what I mean. Even Clark Kent is essentially flawless. In Avengers Civil War they tried to make Captain America go through some sort of change, or arc, perhaps. But it utterly failed in my opinion. Simply due to the fact that he’s too flawless. Mind you I’m no expert, but he’s seems too confident and sure of himself to have flaws. Captain America is the representation of our idolization of old school heroism and is the epitome of American idealism. He stands for freedom, rights, liberty etc. But too perfect if you ask me.
*Which inspires you more TV or reading?
Reading is what made me want to write. I spent most of my childhood reading and it solidified my love of books and storytelling. TV inspires me in my writing when it comes to character development. There are certain things that a show can do subtly with characters that you maybe can’t do in a book. There is a lot more chance for subtle moments in TV that you may not get in a book simply due to the point of view of the story.
Yes, I find the contrast between these two mediums very fascinating. I also get inspired by TV. That’s actually how I got started writing!! I kept watching all these awesome shows with great characters until the light bulb finally went off in my head. Every time I’d watch something interesting I’d say to myself, write it yourself…write it yourself. So I did! Or, am still writing. But there are things we can do in books that you won’t get in a movie. Like fully develop a character the way you want without the time restraint of a movie.
*Tell us about PureFandom.com.
PureFandom.com is all about the fans and their nerdy loves. I write recaps and reviews for them covering Supernatural, Agents of SHIELD and The 100. I also write all sorts of news items. They are a site dedicated to fandom and working with them is a blast!
Sounds like it. That would be so fun! I love Agents of SHIELD and the The 100. They’re wonderfully written and keep you on your toes the whole time.
*Tell us about the hiddenremote.com and your contributions.
For Hidden Remote, I will be covering Supergirl! Supergirl is making the big move to the CW and I think it’s going to be an amazing change for them. I can’t wait to cover it! #girlpower
You go girl!! (Pun fully intended). 🙂
*When will your book be available?
My book will be available later this year! I am in the crazy editing stage and its been a blast so far. I love sharing stories with people and I can’t wait to share the world of Everly with you!
We can’t wait to read your story! I bet you’re an excellent storyteller. Looking forward to it.
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