Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Dunkirk Premiere Review

After seeing the premiere of "Dunkirk" last night at IMAX in Melbourne Australia, I think it's safe to say that this is one of Christopher Nolan's greatest films. Thank you, Roadshow Films! I was lucky enough to be one of many people around the world to see it before it hits cinemas on Thursday.
I wouldn't say the best Nolan's done (that pleasure goes to "The Prestige"), but it definitely redefined the War genre in terms of filmmaking such as story and structure.

*I wouldn't say this review has spoilers per se, as it's based off a real event, but I talk about the story structure which might ruin the surprise when you watch it. I do not talk about the characters fates or what roles they portrayed, only a general response to the quality of their acting and screentime. I talk about the experience in watching it in IMAX 70mm, and Zimmer's score. So if you want to continue, read on!*

As a filmmaker myself, with a love for film composing (Hans Zimmer is the best as well as many others!), writing, editing and filming, Nolan created "Dunkirk" quite differently than the usual War tropes we see in other War films.

We barely see the enemies which is amazing because like the soldiers in any war, you never truly see their faces. There is no main character, the most famous actors in the film (Tom, Cillian and Kenneth) share screentime with everybody else. Why? Because it's an ensemble film. The film is about ALL the soldiers during this part of the War, all who experienced it from the ground, the air and the water.
These different perspectives jump back and forth a lot between the three groups in the timeline of the plot as well as making it non-linear, reminding me of his non-linear structure he developed in "Memento". It is a LOT like that. That's not something you ever see in a War film.

There's never been a film quite like "Dunkirk" before and I watch nearly everything. I enjoyed that it wasn't generic, as that is usually not his style anyway so I expected it. I enjoyed that it gave light to a specific character who, unlike other War films, would be classed as the Antagonist, but isn't. Soldiers on both sides of the War suffer similarly. Whether you're judged good or bad, not everyone is the same.

The greatest thing about seeing it last night at IMAX, was that Melbourne is one of 37 theatres around the world (the only one in Australia) to have the 1570 film reel of the film. While this isn't a new thing (such as "The Hateful Eight"), "Dunkirk" is currently the only film in the world to be 75% filmed with IMAX cameras. So if you're like me and can see the difference in the technical aspects while watching a film, the resolution will be quite different, but barely noticeable in the long run (well it was quite noticeable to me because I literally analyse every film I watch. But hey, that's fun for me!).

We sat inside the cinemas. There were just over 120 of us. The screen loomed over our heads. It is the biggest cinema in the world apparently, and having been to IMAX a few times before, this was the first time I've experienced a film with full IMAX resolution (roughly 18k) and played with the vintage refitted good old 1570 film projector (previously used in the 70's and 80's before digital projectors replaced the film). As soon as the film started playing, you could hear the projector spinning in the background behind us before it was drowned out by the background noise of the film. It was like we were brought back to the 70's and 80's. I was born in 1990, but I can only imagine how amazing the film watching experience was before I was born, instead of the digital we have now.

I won't dwell too long on the actors, but a special shout out to Harry Styles (that guy from One Direction) who literally blew my expectations. I'm not a fan of the band, but I also never got onto the bandwagon against him acting in the film because I trust Nolan's judgement in hiring actors to play a part.

Fionn who was another with big screentime, was wonderful. He's a newcomer and I expect great things from him. Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy are brilliant as always. I can never fault them. Tom had more screentime than Cillian though.

The experience of watching "Dunkirk" the way Nolan intended us to watch it was quite a ride. My brother himself was extremely impressed, and just like me, he loves Nolan, Zimmer and War films. It's not everyday you have a sibling just like you, so this is an advantage when it comes to having an obsessive love for film.

Hans Zimmer's score was absolutely intense and heart-pumping suspensful. It was a mixture between the 'Why So Serious" theme as well as "Interstellar". Overall, it was basically atmospheric in nature, creating that ticking sound of uncertainty and the ominous looming nature of struggle, survival and death. I felt like I was right there in the action, feeling their fear of death and uncertainty, feeling their need to survive against all odds.

I give the film 9/10. I only put it down one point because the shaky cam gave me a frightful headache (which is common with me), but luckily the shaky cam was quite natural in its framing and it wasn't overdone like you see in the Bourne films (now that's the worst!).

"Dunkirk" is a must-watch, especially in IMAX. If your cinema or any lucky IMAX cinema near you has the 70mm film reel with the 1570 film projector, I urge you to travel there and view it the way Nolan wanted you to experience it. Trust me, you won't be disappointed and it definitely does live up to the hype!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Hans Zimmer Revealed in Melbourne, Australia 2017

Thank you to Hans Zimmer for an amazing night in Melbourne! In this day and age it makes me extremely happy to know that film composers are finally out in the spotlight and giving their fans an all-around authentic, life-changing experience. As far as I know, this is a first for us Australians.

Film and film music is massive part of my life. It's why I love Directing, Screenwriting, Editing and SFX. The music gives a film more depth and meaning. It's a roller-coaster of emotions and I have over 150 soundtracks for my ever-increasing collection.

I got into film music as a 6 six year old because of Hans Zimmer. It was 1996 and "Broken Arrow" had just come out, and being a Travolta fan (and after this a Slater fan), the soundtrack blew me away. I had to know who the composer was. I played the film all the time just to hear the music. I loved it so much that I taught myself to play it perfectly by ear on my toy piano (James Horner's influence would not long after propel me to continue playing the piano because of "Titanic").

Unfortunately he didn't play "Broken Arrow" in Melbourne last night, but he played the next best thing (possibly the best track on the entire setlist), "Roll Tide" from "Crimson Tide". As soon as Hans mentioned Tony Scott I was a blubbering mess and my brother next to me had the biggest grin on his face. It was such a nice surprise. 😁

Being both obsessed Zimmer fans growing up, it was always our dream to see Hans Zimmer live in concert. Who knew that day would be ever be last night?! It was my main item on my bucket list and I can safely say I happily ticked it off. πŸ’—

The entire concert was mind-blowing, heart-pumping, emotional and a very epic experience. One very emotional part of the experience was hearing Hans talk about his experience working with our own Heath Ledger during "The Dark Knight" and his devastation to the call that he had passed away. He talked about fighting against the opressive notion that drives people of different backgrounds apart and in a moment of his heartfelt speech, he made sure that inclusion and being united was one of the best things human beings can ever do in a state of war and turmoil that's inflicted upon our world.

The reason why Hans is so amazing as a human being and as a film composer is the fact he's so genuine, loves music to the core and can create a whole variety of musical compositions for film, documentaries and games, and still put his essence into his work to make it distinguishable. It was an even better experience knowing Lebo M and fellow Melbournian Lisa Gerrard were there to give us the most authentic versions of "The Lion King" and "Gladiator" (although I wish he did "King Arthur", "Rush", "The Last Samurai" and "The Rock").

My brother isn't much of a fan of "The Lion King", but even he can appreciate and be absolutely blown away by the amazing vocals of Lebo M and his daughter that brought the music to life. As soon as Lebo M's vocals to "The Circle of Life" boomed across the darkness of the Arena, the whole environment changed and turned everyone's expressions into pure happiness. It was like we were all kids watching "The Lion King" again.

I am so thankful for Hans Zimmer being here in Melbourne. Nearly every track was one we knew and loved and it was perfect. My brother and I were the only overly excited ones in our sections. It was the best night of our lives and while we've had the most terrible year so far with a big loss and continuous grief, this day is indeed a night we'll never forget and love forever. So thank you for making our lives! This is an experience we've waited long for so many years and one we'll never forget.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

A story of love, of negligence and bravery.

This is a long post and one that will hopefully deter anyone from ever taking their pets over to a specific Vet clinic. I won't be naming names. It's a local Vet and it's been absolutely gut-wrenching and upsetting because of what they did and didn't do. I guess this is kind of a lessen learnt sort of story, but it's also a story of how brave our wonderful family cat is, who has had to suffer over a period of nearly three months because of their negligence.

My family and I haven't stopped crying and are heartbroken over what's been happening. It's been extremely stressful for all of us. Anyone who says anything less is completely selfish and ignorant.

Our cat Shiva is 15 years old. We've had him since he was a small kitten. He was healthy, albeit a couple of tumours on his ears and nose, so we took him to the animal hospital (since 2010) on the 27th of January, 2017 to finally have the tumours removed (tips of his ears chopped off). The tumours only started showing up a couple of years ago at least, so luckily it's only the beginnings of it. It's very normal for white cats to get them.

On the day of his surgery (27th of Jan, 2017), we took him to the hospital and we encountered a woman nurse (let's call her Jane for anonymity) who came to do the pre-medical check up on our cat. She was absolutely rude when he wouldn't stay still for the rectal thermometer. *Jane* said rather rudely, "If he doesn't stay still, he'll die during the surgery. You don't want that do you?" I was shocked. I had to hold my tongue as she was treating him. My sister had encountered the same woman beforehand and made a complaint against her to the Vet who took care of him and he said it wasn't the first complaint about her. She was going to be spoken to about ber behaviour.
Speaking to so many people now since all this has happened, they've encountered the same woman before, made complaints and nothing has been done. Why is someone like her even working at there?

On the same day after the surgery, we went to pick him up. When they brought him out there was blood everywhere on his ears and fur. The nurse gave us a bloodied Elizabethan collar (cleaned it roughly, blood smeared on the inside). She told us he was very aggressive and caused so much trouble for them when they tried to put the collar on him. What did they honestly expect?! My poor baby had the tip of his ears chopped off! The area was still very fresh from the surgery, still extremely painful and even more he was in even more blinding pain when they tried to put the collar on him with his ears pressed against the collar. He was screeching in pain. I've never heard him in such pain in my life and it made me cry. I couldn't believe they'd actually do that and then ask us to try it when we got home. I ended up paying for a little sedative to give him because he kept scratching at his ears and blood was dripping everywhere in the house (I won't forget him jumping on me to lie down, he shook his head and blood went everywhere). He slept for the whole night.

On the 30th of January, 2017, blood test results indicated that his kidneys and other organs were perfectly fine. A few days later he stopped eating and drinking water and we had to forcibly give him water via a syringe to keep him hydrated. When we took him to the vets, they suggested to continue using the syringe and wet foods. He started drinking from the syringe and we ended up hand feeding him to get him to eat.

The next couple of days he was walking very unbalanced and kept falling over. We took him back to the vets again and they said he had an inner ear infection and gave him a course of slow-releasing antibiotics for about two weeks. It was so bad he was barely eating and drinking water. He was given appetite stimulants to get him eating again.

We started getting extremely concerned when his unbalanced gait was worse and then he started drooling. Phlegm-like mucous would drip and sway from his mouth. We took him to the vets and they said it was his ear infection causing it. Then every time he ate or drank water he was throwing it back up. Extremely concerned, we sent him back again to the vets and they told us to wait until the antibiotics were up and that the ear infection would subside after 4 more weeks.
We couldn't stand our cat suffering the way he was and he was getting more lethargic, had an uneven gait, sleeping a lot and throwing up.

On the 28th of Feb, I made a post on Facebook regarding his situation for a second opinion. Many people before this recommended Lort Smith and I have never heard anything bad about them for quite a while now.

Then suddenly a couple of days later he started drinking heaps of water. You'd think that's good right? No. He'd drink so much while drooling out the phlegm (this was constant and we would wipe his mouth and clean out his water bowl every few minutes because it was so bad) and he'd throw up phlegm. He'd eat his food, he'd throw up. He'd keep drinking his water for 5 minutes at a time and throw up. We knew for sure this wasn't the ear infection, so we sorted a second opinion at another animal hospital. Lort Smith Animal Hospital.

We took him in on the 10th of March and on the 11th, they called to tell us our cat's kidneys were failing and he was diagnosed with Feline AIDS, bronchitis, severe gingivitis and end stage kidney failure. Outside cats are more susceptible to Feline AIDS and he hadn't been an outside cat for more than a few years. He was vaccinated against FIV many years ago and blood tests never showed he had the virus. Unfortunately we never realised, the local Vets never picked it up and we weren't told by the Vets that the FIV vaccine was a yearly vaccination. THIS SHOULD BE COMPULSORY.

We went to the hospital on the 12th of March and they told us his condition was very serious, a "grave prognosis". He wasn't eating or drinking, he was very dehydrated and they hooked him up to get fluids to rehydrate him again. They told us it was the late stages of kidney failure. Absolutely heartbroken, and seeing our poor baby so frightened and skinny, we told them to keep giving him fluids. The day before they suggested to put him down and we said no.
They gave him an appetite stimulant and he was finally eating a bit and gained a little bit of weight. They said the fluids are working and he has severe gingivitis. They said his kidneys are slowly getting better because of the fluids and they need to make sure his kidneys are strong enough to survive the dental operation. He was also diagnosed with bronchitis, something the previous vet never picked up on when they heard his laboured breathing.

After that, we were told that that his gingivitis wasn't that bad, his heart and lungs were clear (she had suspected that he didn't have bronchitis) and that during the ultrasound of his kidneys, it came out white. When it came out white, they told us it was a "white solid thick mass" covering both his kidneys. They did a biopsy the very same day and told us it could possibly be lymphoma.

When we went to visit him (Dad, brother and I), they took us into the kitty ward as he was still groggy from the sedation and still hooked up to the IV fluids. The nurse opened the door of his cage and his eyes opened. Suddenly he heard our voices and his head lifted up, saw us and sat up meowing. He tried to walk out of his cage, but being hooked up with the IV made it difficult, and the sedation was still making him woozy. My Dad lifted him out of the cage and held him. Such a beautiful sight. Then I sat him in my laps and he turned into a position he was comfortable in and slept in my laps. He was so happy to see us. Our thinking is...if we see him everyday while he's there, he wouldn't get lonely, and the healing process would happen faster knowing that he wasn't neglected or alone.
After that, the biopsy came back clean. No lymphoma. Yay! It was such a relief. They eventually sent him back home telling us that he actually has early stages of kidney disease (not end stage as we were previously told) and the IV helped a lot. They wanted to discharge him. So I went to go pick him up from Lort Smith, waited for nearly two hours (because my train got delayed and I missed the appointment) and the nurse came to speak to me about discharging him. When she brought the cat carrier out, I could hear him meowing (it was a cardboard box carrier from Lort Smith because we didn't know he was coming home until later that morning and we didn't have his cage). She opened the box and his little head popped out, still meowing he saw my face and his eyes changed. He let out a little meow and I was caressing his cheeks (he leaned into my hands really hard) while he was purring loudly. The nurse was so happy at his reaction.

When we brought him home (he lives in two houses. My sister's and ours with only two minutes apart), he wasn't eating properly. His tongue was still sticking out, he was very skinny (actually anorexic), and his balance was as worse as ever. The next night, I spoon-fed him some homemade chicken soup I made for him (putting some on a spoon and he'd slurp it in because he couldn't open his jaw properly). He ate a little bit, not enough, but it was something. When I filled up his water, I filled it only halfway (a full bowl is too much water and because of his uneven gait and uncoordinated senses, I didn't want him to end up drowning) and sure enough later that night, HALF his face was inside the water as he drank water. I knew it. NEVER put a full bowl of water. If you know your cat has issues with his/her balance, and they're obviously not blind, don't put a full bowl of water. Especially if you aren't observing your cat 24/7, at least you'll know they won't drown because someone filled it up to the top when they didn't listen or see the signs of his/her appearance.

The next day, Dad and I took him back to Lort Smith. The family had suggested that we put in a feeding tube because he wasn't eating properly (and obviously hungry the poor bub) to help him gain weight again, which would help bring back his energy and strength. As soon I was waiting for the nurse (my Dad had left for his appointment next door), a nurse came out and she talked to me about why we were classing our cat's case as an emergency. I told her he hadn't eaten since he was discharged two days prior and that we required a feeding tube to get food in him pronto. She told me that they had a lot of other patients who would be high priority and that the wait time would be over an hour. Since I didn't want him stuck inside the cage that long, I asked her if we could use a room so he can use the little box (as he had drank a lot of water before coming) and drink some water as he would be thirsty. Unfortunately no room was available, but she took him for a while to give him water and make sure he was comfortable. Not even 5 minutes later, she comes back out again and tells me a Vet is currently looking at him and he'll call me in within the next few minutes.

Within the next few minutes, the nurse comes back out and calls me into Room 1. Our cat was all alone in the room, on the floor and sniffing the door in front of me. A bowl of water was on the ground and a little box was beside his cage unsoiled. As soon as I closed the door and he saw me, he automatically came to me meowing. I put him on the table as soon as the Vet in and he introduced himself. He told me that our cat was bitten by a snake. I was flabbergasted. What? "That's impossible," I told him. "He's an indoor cat. I'd know if there was snake in the house." He seemed confused. "Oh. You see here?" He showed me our cat's face. "I feel he has partial facial paralysis. That's most commonly consistent with a snake bite." I told him he was an indoor cat and then he went on to say that brain tumours could also be one too and that quality of life would be horrible for him (especially since he's a senior cat) and that an option would be to put him down. I automatically said no. "We don't know for sure whether or not it's a brain tumour. We're going to do whatever we can to confirm this tumour first." He told me that our cat didn't have a gag reflex which is why he wasn't eating (he put his finger down his throat and he didn't flinch or gag once). He told me that his tongue was sticking out and he wasn't blinking either (he pressed a reflex area near his eyes and he wasn't blinking. I told him that he was sleeping just before he came here and his eyes were closed. Unfortunately Shiva wasn't blinking in front of him and my guess is because he's in a new area and he was very alert with this stranger in front of him. I had my arm around Shiva and for the first time he was actually very calm and purring on the table. I held him with one arm under his head and the other patting his head. I couldn't believe how calm he was. Such a good boy.

The Vet mentioned about CT scans to confirm if there was a tumour and I called my sister so she could speak to the Vet too. After he hung up, I told him that since he felt it was a brain issue, maybe an infection could cause it too. He agreed with me. Then I told him about the bad ear infection he got after his ear surgery. I told him he started developing the balance issues when the ear infection happened and that maybe his ears are the ones causing this whole trouble. Then asked me whether or not he's had fluid in there before and I mentioned that a couple of weeks back, my sister took him to get all this fluid out of his ear. He agreed with me that it could be the ears, but he was also quite adamant that it might be a brain tumour as well. He left for a while to get the paperwork sorted and I put Shiva on the ground. He walked around for a bit and I sat on the chair and he came to me. He put a paw on my leg signalling he wanted to sit on me, so I carried him and laid him on my laps. Feeling secure and safe, he started purring and fell asleep. His eyes were closed (this signified for me that it wasn't a brain tumour for that reason).

The Vet came back with the paperwork and checked his ears and eyes. He wasn't going blind luckily, and he told me after what I said, they'll thoroughly check his ears while doing the CT scan. They were going to put the feeding tube in that day. He told me that Shiva was otherwise healthy and stable (his kidneys are stable) and that it was just this small issue that needed to be fixed. I signed the paperwork and gave him Shiva. He looked so comfortable in his arms. "He'll be getting lots of cuddles and pets, don't you worry about that." Such a cutie.

The next day, the CT scan came back normal. No tumours! We knew it. But they did check his ears and found there was a LOT of fluid build up and they drained it out. Then they found abnormalities in the fluid and sent it off to pathology. At the moment, we don't have the results yet. I'll update it when we do though.

Now after many tests, which included a biopsy on his kidneys (as they showed white in the ultrasound) he's been okay. Everything they said he had, he didn't have. This was such a relief. With the support of family and the local Community group on Facebook (despite a couple of people who wanted attention for their own selfish reasons about this), this whole situation has been incredibly stressful for my family and I, especially Shiva. He has a feeding tube in now and hopefully this will enable him to finally get the nutrients he needs.

The tests that got it right however, are the beginning stages of kidney disease, Feline AIDS (which was never picked up by the local Vets), some dehydration, no lymphoma, no brain tumour and no Bronchitis.

He has been through so much and he is on the road to recovery with the most loving family ever. We have all banded together to do everything and anything for him. He has us all wrapped around his little tail (well...long tail).

Lort Smith is helping out our cat so much. They found more wrong with his condition than the previous place. The other Vets never listened to our concerns and they didn't dig deeper when he was getting worse. They never told us that he had Feline AIDS and it was apparently so bad that it's weakened his kidneys and caused him gingivitis (but his gingivitis isn't as bad as they said it was luckily).
The fact they never picked this up and helped him makes me so mad. My poor baby is suffering because of the way they dealt with everything! They put him into this situation, into this suffering.

I am so thankful for Lort Smith, but extremely angry at the previous place. Our family cat is suffering because of them and I don't want anyone else's loved ones to end up the same.
The staff at the Lort Smith have been so amazing. They're informative, they have a staff member who is learning human nursing sit with him all the time (only on the one day as she was there), and she even cooked him up some chicken and bought him tuna to try and eat. That is love and care! Not putting an Elizabethan Collar on him while his ears are still bleeding. They would never do that.

Shiva is a fighter, he is still well on the road to recovery at the moment and the amount of stress and tears we're all going through, what HE'S going through is nothing short of him being the bravest boy I know. πŸ’—

I hope this post makes people question their Vets and asks them questions. DON'T believe everything they say! If your gut instinct tells you to get a second opinion, GO FOR IT. If people don't listen to you to get a second opinion, force it on them! Don't wait until the last minute when something even worse happens and it's too late. Don't let one place treat your furry loved ones.

UPDATE: Unfortunately Shiva passed away on the 1st of April, 2017 in his sleep. We still have no idea what was wrong with him. We ended up taking him out of Lort Smith (as they basically gave up on him) and took him to the Werribee Animal Hospital by Melbourne University. He was meant to go for an MRI and spinal tap pathology test, but unfortunately they told us he was too weak to go for it and they were afraid he'd die on the table. We brought him home the next day and he last for just over a week before he passed away in his sleep. I took him outside three days before he passed away for the first time in a long time (and his final time) which he absolutely loved. I miss him so much as does my family. We can't imagine our household without him, but I truly hope he's at peace.
I never got to see him the day before he passed (my sister had come home early and took him back, even though I left Uni early to spend time with him)....but he came into my dreams the morning of his passing. I didn't know at the time he had died, and he circled me and rubbed against me, thanking me, telling me how much he loves me and just how happy he was to have been a part of our lives. I know he's at peace now, but his loss is still very hard.
That last photo was taken on the 18th of March, 2017. Looking so much better!
Always question your vets, never take their word as gospel truth. Unfortunately our local vets never said cats needed an annual FIV vaccine. They do! Don't forget that. While cats can live happy lives with the AIDS (but still need careful observation as their immune system will be degraded), make sure you follow your instincts when you know something is wrong. Make sure you question them and make sure you don't let selfish individuals make you feel wrong.

Lort Smith has saved his life. Always go to this amazing place to bring your furry loved ones. You won't regret it. Trust me. They saved his life and the family and I couldn't be more happier! He is the most well-loved in our household and having him in our lives still for longer wouldn't be possible without them. 😍

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

'Lost' and 'Once Upon a Time's' Intertextual Analysis.

"Intertextuality is the interrelationship between texts. Using this theory, choose two TV Shows that feature a significant portrayal of intertextuality. Draw a parallel between the Shows and give an intertexual analysis linking them together. If you can, apply other theories too.”

According to Fiske (1987, p. 4), the theory of intertextuality means that “any one text is necessarily read in relationship to others and that a range of textual knowledge’s is brought to bear upon it.” In this essay, I will be analysing and discussing the parallels portrayed between Lost and Once Upon a Time, as both of them are written by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. Both shows have a similar narrative in which there are multiple storytelling streams. By taking this similarity, I will outline the character references in both Shows. I will discuss about the resemblance of the mise-en-scene and I will apply the theory of intertextuality through episode tie-ins and fan fiction interpretation featured in both Lost and Once Upon a Time.

Abrams (2011, p. 5) states that narratives are action and events which are links together and revolving around the characters within the story.
Lost (2004-2010) was a television series that followed the lives of the survivors whose plane, Oceanic flight 815, crash- landed on a mysterious island. Here we see the survivors battle the previous occupants of the island, an unknown monster and hallucinations. The plotline was different from other shows as it took us through a few timelines, such as flashbacks, flash-forwards, flash-sideways and time travel. Abrams (2001, p. 7) mentions that the “interruptions of narratives, such as those caused by flashbacks are usually explained and justified so that they do not necessarily disrupt the narrative; indeed they can clarify it.” Each flashback in Lost told the audience how each character came to be who they are on The Island and the lessons they needed to be taught to move on or move past in the episode story.
Once Upon a Time (2011-present) is a fairy-tale/drama television series, where a woman becomes a saviour to break the curse inflicted on a small town called Storybrooke. The curse was perpetrated by The Evil Queen who sent all the fairy-tale and story book characters alike, from the Enchanted Forest and to the real world, where time is endless and they have forgotten their true identities. In relation to the plotline, it is very similar to Lost, as the audience are told different stories from many flashbacks and parallel timelines. The flashbacks are different from Lost, because unlike the Lost characters who could remember their flashbacks, the Once Upon a Time characters didn’t; hence giving the audience an insight into the different parts of their lives, which like Lost, complements the central story occurring in the episode.

According to the research by Thwaites (2002, p. 17), “a genre may also change by interacting with other media genres." The different kinds of texts interact with each other they recycle signs, codes and social values of different genres. These get transposed to different settings, and assume new references.”
Once Upon a Time uses Thwaites’s theory in its Show by recycling references from Lost into its storyline. While it may just be a tribute to Lost, I feel Once Upon a Time is incorporating the allusions to its own settings, thereby creating new references in the show.
Lost was very well known for the use of its famous numbers, 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42. The use of these numbers were incorporated into everything, whether it be birthdays, ages, seat numbers, lottery winning numbers, flight numbers, road signs, names, clock signs…etc. It also used variations of the numbers together, even 108, which is the added total of the numbers combined.
There many allusions to the Lost numbers portrayed in Once Upon a Time in nearly every single episode. One would need a sharp eye to catch the numbers as they come in different forms.

For example, in the Pilot of Once Upon a Time, Regina’s (The Evil Queen) house number is 108; the clock tower in Storybrooke is frozen at 8:15, which is a reference to Oceanic Flight 815. When the clock unfreezes, it chimes at 8:16. The next morning, Regina looks at the clock and it clearly reads 8:23. In Season 1’s episode ‘Dreamy’, we find out that Storybrooke’s postcode is 04815. A more noticeable reference was in Season 3, ‘The Heart of the Truest Believer’, when Henry Mills is born at 8:15.
August W. Booth is a character from Once Upon a Time, whose true identity is Pinocchio. A sneaky Lost reference is attributed to his name and character. August is the 8th month of the year, W is the 23rd letter of the alphabet and in an outside reference, Booth killed President Lincoln, who was the 16th President of the United States. In the episode, ‘The Stranger’, a brief Lost reference can be seen when young Pinocchio looks up at the sky and sees a plane overhead with a clear Oceanic Airlines logo on its tail; a direct reference to Flight 815.  
Thwaites (2002, p. 18) mentions that even though a text may borrow something of familiarity, they make the advantages of these seem familiar and obvious. In many of these references, there are obvious close up shots in the scenes which show the numbers and objects of reference. The camera shots create the meaning of significance and tells the viewer that it’s important.

Numbers aren’t the only references to Lost in Once Upon a Time. There are quotations and scenes in the show that are exact or variations of the ones in Lost. For example, in the episode ‘The Cricket Game’, Regina is told that she cannot defeat Snow White’s army and in anger she replies, “Don’t tell me what I can and cannot do.” This is an obvious tribute to Lost character John Locke, who repeats the line, ‘Don’t tell me what I can’t do,’ throughout the series run.

In another example to Lost, the Once Upon a Time episode ‘The Heart is a Lonely Hunter’, is a tribute to Lost character, Desmond Hume. The episode deals with Sheriff Graham, who starts to remember bits and pieces of his other life through uncontrollable flashbacks. In one specific scene, he wakes up in the middle of the night because of a dream, but he says to Regina, “It didn’t feel like a dream. It felt like a memory.” This is a direct reference to Desmond, who says to his girlfriend Penny, “It wasn’t a dream, Pen. It was a memory.” I noticed that the Once Upon a Time episode was similar to Lost’s episode ‘The Constant’, in which Desmond uncontrollably time travelled through his past consciousness. Though the time travelling aspect is not featured in Once Upon a Time, the sudden and uncontrollable flashbacks were similar in both episodes and in my opinion, another tribute to Desmond Hume.

Bordwell (2013, p. 7) states that mise-en-scene offers control of setting, costumes, lighting, acting and movement in the shots. In a few examples, I will use pictures to illustrate and back up my statements. Once Upon a Time uses many of the same camera angles and settings in the same way Lost does too.

Lost's 'Pilot'

Once Upon a Time's 'Pilot'

There is one episode in Once Upon a Time which there’s a clear nod to Lost. In the episode ‘The Hat Trick’, Jefferson, who is in fact The Mad Hatter, resides in house number 316. In this episode, Jefferson remembers his true identity and he desperately tries to find ways to get back to Wonderland. He kidnaps Emma and forces her to recreate his Mad Hatter hat, which he can use it to transport through different worlds. This whole episode is in reference to Lost’s episode ‘316’, where some of the characters find a way to go back to the Island. They take fictional airline, Ajira Airways Flight 316 to go back to the Island. Ajira Airways is also mentioned in Once Upon a Time’s episode ‘Tiny’, where Henry, Emma and Mr. Gold take an Ajira Airlines flight.

The ‘eye-opener’ scenes are one of the main recurring themes shown on Lost. The first picture was first seen in the Pilot, as it opens with zoom in shot to a close-up shot of Jack Shephard’s eye as he lays in pain in the middle of the jungle, right after the crash of Flight 815. The second picture was first seen in the ‘Pilot’, as mid-way through the episode, it opens up with an extreme close-up of Emma Swan’s eye, right after a car crash. Once Upon a Time continuously makes allusions to Lost with many characters in various episodes having the close-up eye shot. Another similarity I notice between Jack and Emma, is that they are both close-minded when it comes to the mysteries and magic, when all they needed was faith to believe.

According to Booth (2010, p. 56), “fan fiction is, by definition, peripheral and ancillary to the primary current media object. It functions as a text outside and apart for the existing text.” Fan fiction within a fandom as its own set of texts which is derived from many borrowed works. Like all fiction, it’s connected to the rest of its literature through intertextual associations and references to other works. Fans are no different from any other reader, in which they bring to the existent media ideas, thoughts and experiences to shape their understand of the narrative. For example, when Once Upon a Time and Lost fans join both fandoms together and create their own universe with their fan fiction, it gives fans a way to participate in making new characteristics of the shows, it also helps fans interpret the shows themselves.  For example, a fellow fan of both shows created a fan fiction where it made Jack Shephard from Lost and August W. Booth from Once Upon a Time protagonists in a story-crossover. The summary of Tellshannon815’s (2013) story is linking both Jack and August to a point in time where they met in Phuket, Thailand and became friends. It’s an interesting interpretation because both characters are linked to each other in their respective shows. For example, in Lost’s season 3 episode ‘Stranger in a Strange Land,’ is a Jack-centric episode where in flashbacks we find out the origins to his tattoos when he goes to Phuket. Once Upon a Time makes references to this in the August-centric episode ‘Selfless, Brave and True’, where we find out how August lost himself in his travels to Phuket. The fans interpretation of both texts is quite similar to how the references are perceived and by joining both characters pasts and putting them into one universe, she’s creating an intertextual link between all texts and creating a new function from outside the texts itself.

In conclusion, both Lost and Once Upon a Time are quite similar in many ways and yet they stand so different from each other. Using only fragments of these references in relation to each other, one can conclude that Once Upon a Time is a show in its own right, creating its own unique universe, while at the same time serving as a tribute to millions of Lost fans around the world. The use of intertextuality in evident in Once Upon a Time from the narration, its characters, certain scenes, and hidden numbered clues to Lost. Especially in the scenes of the ‘eye opening’ shots, Once Upon a Time is in fact using many of Lost’s main themes as an acknowledgment in their own show. Analysing fans interpretations of both shows and using their fan fiction, gives us an insight into how they distinguish the clues in the shows. It also concludes that a story can be taken in any direction, this helps construct the author’s universe and by using the interpreted fiction from both shows and by using the references, one can create the intelligibility of a new universe away from the original text. Both Kitsis and Horowitz have created an amazing universe in both of their shows and it’s lucky for us Lost fans who sit down every week watching Once Upon a Time, while picking out all the references for fun and linking them together, therefore linking both shows in relation to one another.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Arnold Schwarzenegger: My Experience in Seeing My Inspirational Hero and Favourite Actor.

There comes a moment in every person’s life, when they finally see that one thing which they've wanted to see their whole lives. I got to have such an experience on the 14th of June, 2013, when Arnold Schwarzenegger came down to Melbourne, Australia to give a speech on how he gains inspiration and motivation to complete his goals in life. 

I am a massive Arnold fan. I really mean it; I've literally been a fan of his for as long as I can remember. I can recall when I was very young, my parents watched Terminator 2: Judgement Day. I absolutely loved it! I've been a fan of his ever since and watched everything he has been in. As I grew up with his movies, I realised how he came to be in America from Austria. He completed all of his goals by working hard and this is one of the reasons why he’s a major influence and inspiration to me. I'm such a big fan that I own all of his movies, right down to owning a massive Terminator canvas in my room and his autobiographical book, Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story.

I bought the tickets for the Summit early, two-for-one general tickets for $121. I couldn't believe it; I couldn't believe that my inspirational and favourite hero was coming down to Australia. The best thing about purchasing these tickets was that they were worth about $700+ and I counted my lucky stars by getting it early. After a few weeks of waiting and waiting, the tickets finally arrived at my doorstep. Even when I held the tickets in my hands, I just wanted that day to come faster. Of course when you’re looking forward to something, the days purposely go slower as to antagonise you further and send you down into an impatient fit of emotions. Okay, I wasn't THAT bad, maybe just a little.

Later on in the weeks, I got two free VIP tickets from the Summit. I took it straight away and tried to sell the previous tickets which I bought. It was a massive fail. A few people opted to buy them, but they either backed out the last second or they never replied back. That was fine with me; I’ve now kept the tickets inside my memory box, which I will treasure forever.

The 14th of June finally came and I literally couldn't sleep the entire night because I was so excited. Woke up early to finally receive my Samsung Galaxy 4 and spent those hours figuring out the tricks and awesome applications that came with it. I got dressed, scratched myself by accident near my lip (worst look ever) and finally departed on the 5:37pm train with my Mum to Southern Cross Station. Round about 6:10pm, we reached Southern Cross and took Tram number 96 to Crown Casino which is literally next door to the Exhibition Centre. We had a yummy margarita, had dinner downstairs (chicken rice!) and at 8:00pm, we finally walked down to the Exhibition Centre where we got our wristbands to get inside.

As we walked inside the room, I didn't realise how massive it was going to be. It was like I walked inside a massive theatre, filled with more than a few hundred chairs all seated in different rows. They all faced the stage which was huge (in my opinion, because I rarely go to these kinds of things), there was a thick dark blue curtain which draped the entire back stage and at the top held three wide screens; the largest in the middle with the two smaller ones at the sides so people who were unfortunate to be at the very front could view them just in case. 
To our disappointment, the seats at the front of the stage were already occupied; instead we took to the side of the room near the front, where we could still see the stage quite clearly in view. We finally sat down and made ourselves nice and comfortable. As we looked to the stage, Jamie McIntyre stood at one of the podiums looking out to the audience with a big grin on his face. I quickly rummaged through my bag as fast as I could and grabbed my brand new Samsung Galaxy 4, eager to try out its amazing 13mp camera. As I started filming, Jamie spoke about Arnold’s meeting with Julia Gillard.

“Arnie got to meet our beloved Prime Minister yesterday…” The audience laughed and a male’s voice yelled out, “Why?!” Jamie chuckled along with the spectators and continued his speech. “So I pulled Arnold aside and I said, ‘Arnie, I want you to meet the Prime Minister on one condition. That you TERMINATE her!’” The crowd erupted with laughter (me included) and a lot of the audience members whistled and cheered at Jamie. 

Afterwards, he spoke a bit more about Arnold’s body-building career and played an epic introduction video about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s life. My stomach at this time felt so heavy, that the feeling of excitement was building up to the point that I would've cried with happiness, as I knew that Arnold would be coming. When the video ended, Jamie turned to the audience again and smiled. There was silence throughout the room and I could literally hear everybody stop breathing. Oh, that waiting! It was killing me inside.
“If you could all stand up…” I barely caught the rest of his speech as we all stood up from our chairs and started screaming and cheering our heads off. “….Arnold Schwarzenegger!” 

We, the audience, cheered and screamed even louder as we finally saw Arnold emerge like a ghost from behind the blue curtain at the side of the stage. He was wearing his formal grey suit and he smiled widely at the cheering audience while waving and nodding his head. Bonnie Tyler’s song, ‘I Need a Hero’ played in the background as his introduction music (though I would have much preferred Brad Fiedel’s The Terminator theme). I was still filming at the time and could literally feel tears stream down my face. It might sound like an over-exaggeration, but as I said before, it’s not every day that you finally get to see your most favourite actor and inspirational hero in person. As my hero finally reached the podium, the music died down but the audience continued to cheer. The air was full of energy and you could feel the positiveness sweeping through the air.

“You can sit down and relax…” said Arnold with his trademark Austrian accent into the microphone, with a grinning smile etched onto his face. We all chuckled and sat back onto our seats, still cheering and eagerly awaiting the words that would come out of his mouth. I couldn't stop the fan-giggling. I was in the moment and right then I remembered the fantasies of my reaction if I were to ever see Arnold in person. Let’s just say I wasn't calm and collected as I was in my head. 

The audience took their time to stop cheering and Arnold waited patiently as he peered at us all, obviously pleased with our reactions to his legendary presence. 

Arnold thanked the guys that made the introductory video and started off his speech about his happiness at being in Australia again. For those who don’t know, Arnold had come down to Australia before in 1980, where he won his 7th Mr Olympia contest at the Sydney Opera House. 

“I really love this country, the last time I was here I said, I’ll be back.” Saying his most famous line in movie history, sent the audience into another round of laughter and cheering. He spoke of his love about Australia and his fan-boy reminiscence in being at the Sydney Opera House.
He then went on to talk about his ‘5 Rules to Success’. Even though I filmed his speech, the last part got cut off by accident due to my butter-fingers in excitement. Before he mentioned his 5 rules, he quickly said:

“People always asked me, what is the secret to success? And I always tell them, is it the short version or the long version? The short version is very simple. You gotta have a 22 inch bicep.” The audience and I burst out laughing while Arnold smiled cheekily at the audience. He continued, “The second, you gotta be able to kill Predators with your bare hands. The third, you have to be able to travel back in time, travel back in time and save the human race and number four, you got to have this charming Austrian accent.” My cheek muscles were killing me from laughing so much. Oh, I love it whenever he references my favourite movies. After that, he went on to talk to us about the long version of his tips on success.

In a quick run-down, his 5 rules are:
1. Have a Vision – In order to succeed in life, you must set your goals and put forth that stepping stone, imagining where in the future you see yourself and how you want to get there. Unrelated to us Australians, but related to our daily lives, Arnold spoke about how 74% of Americans felt unfulfilled and lack of purpose in their lives which prompted them to constantly change jobs. He mentioned how his goals in his life set forth the journey of him leaving Austria and going to America to become one of the world’s most famous body-builder action star and politician. 

This made me think of myself. I want to be an author and popular writer one day. I've had this vision since I was a little girl and it has stuck with me ever since. After graduating high school in 2008, studying a variety of different courses, I finally ended up at University where I'm currently studying the Bachelor of Creative Arts. This is my major stepping stone in getting to where I want to be.

“To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.” Delivering his famous line like he did in Conan the Barbarian sent the crowd into cheers and applause. Arnold chuckled with the obvious delight showing on his face.

2. Never Think Small – Arnold started off, “if you’re going to accomplish anything, you have to think big. Shoot for the stars. The biggest problem that people have is because they think small. The reason why people shoot those small goals is because they feel like they feel like the possibility of failure is less and the higher you shoot, the bigger the goal is, the bigger the risk of failure.” 

I really loved this introduction. He spoke truth that only so many of us have felt in our lives. For example, it took me 5 years to get to my dream course at University because I was afraid of failing. But like Arnold said, “You can only fall to the ground and pick yourself up.” He also stated that you are not a failure if you pick yourself up, but you are when you stay on the ground. 
Arnold’s experience in his speech and public knowledge of his life, he dreamt big. He had an end goal, shot to the stars and became Governor of California.

3. Ignore the Naysayers – “It is natural that when you have a big vision, with big dreams, with big goals that people will say to you all the time this can’t be done. It’s impossible. No.” This is something to learn from everyone. Don’t let people be your obstacle from being successful in life. It’s not their life, it’s yours. Arnold said that he ‘didn't like negativity’ and in personal experiences, he spoke about the many times he was dissuaded when speaking of his visions. In short, it was related to his visions in body-building becoming a Hollywood action star and becoming Governor of California. He said that if he listened to these people from the start at 15 years old, he wouldn't be where he is now and probably be yodelling in the hills of Austria with a career as a ski-champion. 

A lot of people tried to discourage Arnold from being Governor because of his background as a famous leading action man, two months later he became Governor of California. Arnold ended the line with, “they’re not laughing anymore now!” 
A hilarious response to Arnold’s vision of wanting to be a leading man in Hollywood made me laugh. “You wanna be a leading man Hollywood? Arnold look at your body, you’re over-developed!” 

All his best quotes are in this step. For this, you have to watch the footage I took of Arnold so you can hear them for yourself.

4. Work Your Ass Off – “Nobody ever stumbled upon success by accident, except maybe that guy who found gold in California, but don’t ever think you can be that guy. I mean you never want to fail, because you didn't work hard enough.” 

This was very well said. Success isn't going to fall from the Heavens, you need to work yourself and work yourself hard in order to complete your vision or be successful in life. Failure happens every time in our lives, but with hard work and determination, you can go further than you ever thought you could. An annoyance that inflicted Arnold was people’s excuses for ‘not having enough time to do things’. “There are 24 hours in a day! You sleep for 6 hours and you still have 18 hours left! Now some of you may say that you need 8 hours of sleep, in that case just sleep faster!” 

I admit that a trip of guilt was suddenly upon me. I can’t live on 6 hours of sleep; I normally get at least 10-12 hours, which is basically half a day in a way. Wow, that’s a lot of time wastage. 

5. Give back to the Community – (Unfortunately and quite sadly, my fingers pressed a button and stopped recording. So I was like a fool, holding my camera up and it wasn't functioning the way that it was meant to). In the short version however, Arnie gave back by stepping away from movies (where he made millions of dollars for each movie) and became a public servant (Governor) with a low fixed income. Giving back to the community made him feel good, with this involvement, he considered that giving back to the country that helped him make money and become famous was the greatest job. 

I quickly pressed the record button again where some members of the audience got to ask questions to Arnold. Both sides of the room (a bundle of about 20 or so people from each side) rushed down near the stage, but only 4-5 people were the lucky ones chosen to ask their question to their hero. I didn't go down because all my questions that I had in my head had been answered; there was no point in going down there and making a fool of myself (especially since only a few were chosen). 

One of the questions asked what his favourite film quotes were. In a quick response and delivering his line like he did as Dutch in Predator, he yelled, “GET TO DA CHOPPA!” He chuckled along with the audience. “I mean where do you start with that? ‘You shouldn't drink or bake’? Or when I went to stab the guy in the chest and say ‘stick around’? Or, ‘I’ll be back!’, ‘Hasta la vista, baby!’ If it bleeds, we can kill it!” All of us, including Arnie had such a good laugh, the look on his face and how proud he was made me even happier. 

He spoke of his astonishment that so many of his films had globally famous lines. He felt that fans who watched his films would walk out of the cinemas with two of the best lines of the movie and make it famous. In a piece of trivia which I already knew from previous interviews, Arnold spoke about The Terminator and how he wanted to change the most famous line from ‘I’ll be back’ to ‘I will be back’. Due to James Cameron putting his foot down (luckily he’s a perfectionist) and the banter of arguments that ensued, Arnold went ahead and delivered one of the most famous lines in movie history. 

He also spoke about how he gets distracted too easily and mentioned how women (particularly in reference to his wife Maria) were better at multi-tasking than men. He also mentioned that he owns a M47 Patton Tank (I already knew this, but it was awesome to hear his enjoyment in speaking about it). I mean who else would own a tank? Arnold Schwarzenegger of course! In a bit of background history, Arnold has loved this tank since he was 18 years old and in the Austrian Army. He bought the tank in 1992 in Austria and shipped it over to America (with the Government’s permission, because let’s face it, he’s Arnold) where he rides it nearly every weekend and takes children who are in the after-school program for a ride. Can you seriously imagine Arnold just casually driving his tank around California? Oh, what an epic image and typical Arnie. I want to ride in your tank, Arnie! Jealous. 

Last but not least, he mentioned his future movies, lots more Terminator movies, Triplets (which is the sequel to Twins) and Conan.

Overall, I had such an amazing time listening to his inspirations and even though I would have loved to have a conversation with him, it was still a dream come true to see my legendary actor and hero in person. This Summit proved that my dedication to my dreams is all due to Arnold. His whole life in wanting to be the biggest and the greatest where he has achieved everything he can possibly do. When I finally publish my book, it’ll be dedicated to him as well as many others who have never stopped supporting me.

For the complete footage I took of Arnold Schwarzenegger, I've put it on YouTube and linked it to my blog here. It's better if you watch it in HD and fullscreen. Do watch the footage; I've left out so many of the best parts that can only be known by watching the video. Enjoy and I hope that you’re inspired! 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Liebster Blog Awards - 2013


So I wake up, check my Hotmail and realise I've gotten an email from a girl named A and Kaykay who has nominated my blog for The Liebster Blog Awards.
So what this means, is that someone who has less than 200 followers, an upcoming blogger and is nominated by someone who feels that persons blog deserves the recognition from all the hard work that's been put into writing and maintaining it. I thank you for that, A and Kaykay! This gives us all a chance to see new blogs which you love as well as getting to know each other to the blogging community.

The word Liebster means 'favourite' in German. Meaning The Favourite Blog Awards.

In order to accept and participate for the awards, there are certain steps you have to undertake in order to be officially nominated.
  1. Tell 11 things about yourself.
  2. Answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated you.
  3. Post 11 questions for those who will be nominated by you.
  4. Nominate 11 bloggers who have less than 200 followers.
  5. Get in contact with those 11 bloggers in order to inform them that you nominated them.
I'll start off with 11 things about myself:
1. I've been writing for a long time, creating stories and poems and showing them to as many people as I could find.
2. I'm very interested in the paranormal and I love writing stories having to do with the supernatural and thriller genre.
3. I am currently writing a novel called Murder Case: The Secret. It's a supernatural/thriller/crime story. You can find 5 chapters for a sneak preview by clicking on the name of my novel, or by going to the tab at the top and clicking on its name. I've also published poems in school newsletters.
4. I've won two writing competitions in my lifetime so far. One led me to do a photoshoot and the other led me to be promoted with a professional review about my writing skills. You can see the link here.
5. I love reading books. I still haven't got a bookshelf as of yet, but I've collected at least 4 large boxes full of my favourite books. They are mostly in the sci-fi, thriller, supernatural and crime genre.
6. I'm a Harry Potter nut. I've read each book more than 30 times. Yes, you heard right. I love the series so much that I know everything about it! Ask me any question about it.
7. I love reading other people's blogs that have to do with writing and reviewing books they've read.
8. I created my blog to write about my writing, put my novel chapters up, write about my life experiences (like kissing and flirting with Jeremy Renner) as well as writing about haunted places around Australia.
9. My most favourite actor and movie is Arnold Schwarzenegger and Terminator 2.
10. One day my books will be available in the bookstores and I hope to be a bestseller one of these days. I really want people to love reading my books and I want them to be immersed into the world I created.
11. My most favourite food is Chicken Rice. It's an Asian dish which I can eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack. Yeah, I love it THAT much. Try it out. It's amazing. :)

The second are the 11 questions from A and Kaykay who nominated me. I'll be answering the questions.

1. Why do you blog?
I blog because I love to write. I have all of these ideas that need to get out of my head. I blog because I want people to see the side that I'm so passionate about and to know that I'm serious about my writing.
2. Do you read other blogs and why?
Yes, I do read other blogs; other writing blogs actually. I like to see how others use their imagination, because we all use our imaginations differently and it's interesting to see how others work. Plus, it's extremely fascinating to read their work.
3. Which is your favorite book and why?
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It's my favourite because firstly, I love Harry Potter and I really love time travel stories. Plus, Sirius Black!!! I've read so many times, it's just so fascinating and I love it so much.
4. What writing means for you?
Writing means letting a part of your imagination and soul onto a piece of paper (or on the computer). It means expanding your mind to many different things.
5. How do you spend your free time?
I love to read my favourite books, watch my favourite movies, listen to my favourite movie soundtracks and work on my blog and novel. All of these go hand in hand in helping me expand my mind. I also love cooking and experimenting with food.
6. What was your greatest moment for the year that passed?
This answer is very simple. It happened on the 8th of August, 2012. The day I kissed and flirted with Jeremy Renner. Jeremy is a great man, so to read about my experience with pictures, check it out! =)
7. Which five words describe you best?
Shy, imaginative, romantic, commitment and persistence.
8. What would you encourage other people to do?
Follow your hearts, really. If you're really passionate about something, go for it. Take steps to get to your goal, whether it be writing for freelance to get your work out or taking courses to up your skills. Go for it.
9. What would you change in your life if you could?
Become more confident about my body and up my self-esteem. I'm working on it at the moment so I can make myself stronger.
10. What advice you would give to a new writer?
Check out my article for inspirational tips:
Like I said before, go for it. Write everything down, expand it. Research and do what you need to do in order to make yourself better. Get people to review your work.
11. If there’s a word that would describe how you want this year to turn out, what is that word?
These questions are from KayKay which will be answered by me.
12. How would you describe your blog?
I would say it's full of a variety of the paranormal and my life experience.
13. Has blogging made you a better writer?
I would say that it has. I've really gotten loads of feedback and advice for my writing and always try to make myself a better writer.
14. What inspired you to start writing?
When I was younger, my parents gave me loads of books to read (not for my age group), and with my ghostly experiences, I loved to write down little stories I made on the computer. I thank my parents for my ability to write.
15. Have you published any book, if not, do you plan to publish soon?
I haven't published a book yet, but I am writing my paranormal novel which I hope to publish in the future. It's called Murder Case: The Secret which  you can read 5 sneak peak chapters on the top of the tab.
16. Define what success means to you as a writer?
It means having been reviewed by critics in a positive light. It means people love what you have to read and look forward to future projects. That's happening to me at the moment. It's getting exciting!
17. Favourite author?
My favourite author is definitely J.K.Rowling. I love the universe she's created, she's inspired me so much to finish my dream as a writer.
18. What are your hopes for this year?
I hope to finally get into my Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing at University, so I can up my skills as a writer and become a published author and editor. I hope to finally get more recognition for my blog, my novel and my writing skills.

To the people that I nominate, these are 11 questions for you to answer in order to participate. The same questions as above.
  1. Why do you blog?
  2. Do you read other blogs and why?
  3. Which is your favorite book and why?
  4. What writing means for you?
  5. How do you spend you free time?
  6. What was your greatest moment for the year that passed?
  7. Which five words describe you best?
  8. What would you encourage other people to do?
  9. What would you change in your life if you could?
  10. What advice you would give to a new writer?
  11. If there’s a word that would describe how you want this year to turn out, what is that word?
These are my nominees. I have picked you guys because I feel you guys have worked so hard to get where you are now and that you deserve the recognition.

1. Esabella S.
2. JoAnn. L Hill.
3. Edward Gardner.
4. Dogwalk Musings.
5. Rhyme Me A Smile.
6. Musings of an Unapologetic Dreamer.
7. On the Edge of Life.
8. Always a Mom.
9. Little Things in Life.
10. Talia's Creative Printing.
11. Alone in Holy Land.

This message is for my nominees, when you complete all the steps, you'll be officially entered!!! Good luck to all and make sure you leave the link of your blog post down in the comments below with all the steps done like mine. Have fun! This gives us all a chance to get to know each other as well as promoting our favourite blogs to the world. :)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

10 Techniques To Gain Inspiration For Your Story.

Don’t you hate that feeling when you’re staring at your paper or your screen and you just can’t think of anything to write? There are endless amount of ways where you can gain inspiration when getting ideas for a good story. This post will talk about how I get my motivation and many diverse ways you can get yours too.

The many different ways I go about for inspiration it’s quite easy if you have a very vivid imagination. Here are my top ten picks for expanding your mind:

1. Daydreaming: I like to sit - no matter where I am - and just stare into space. Yes, people might see a weird person just staring at air, but they have no idea what goes on in my head. It’s like a whole new universe just opened up and I’m the creator. I like to imagine different scenarios for myself. I like to put them in situations to see how they’d react and what actions they’d do. Thinking about it continuously can give you so many new ideas and visualisation is one of the best ways you can gain inspiration for a story.

 Just give it try right now. Depending on your preference, – whether you like the quiet or a bit of noise – just sit down and clear your mind of any worries that you have. Picture a character you’d like to put into a story, or picture someone you know and put them in any kind of chaotic situation that pleases you. Ask yourself questions. What would that person do? How would they react? How are they feeling being put into this very situation? Play it in your head as if you’re watching a movie. Use your senses around you and imagine being in that moment.  Write them down if you must so you can remember them.

2. Reading books: Reading lots and lots of books is undeniably another way to gain inspiration. Read books that are the genre of what you want to write about. Look at how the author portrays their characters. Look at the dialogue and the details of the story. Does it grab your attention? Is there anything that jumps out at you when you read the story?
For me, I like to read lots of supernatural themed books. I look at how the author creates their own characters with their own personality as if it’s a completely new person stuck in a world full of paranormal happenings. I look at the details that bring us closer to the character and I look at how the little details in the words lets us imagine a world completely different from our own. I’m against plagiarism, so if you want to write a story, don’t copy it from something you read. You can draw inspiration, however. Look at how the author writes. Are there lots of descriptive words or are there fewer ones? For example Lord of the Rings is packed with descriptive words, it tells us everything of the world that J.R.R.Tolkien created and it gives us an extremely vivid visualisation of Middle Earth.

3. Dreams: For those that remember their dreams can also achieve inspiration for writing. Get yourself a dream journal and every time you wake up, write it down before you forget. I always hop on my laptop – yes, the screen can be blinding when first waking up - and I have a special folder where I write down the dreams that I remember. One dream actually helped me get inspiration for a paranormal book series I’m making. You can read back over your dreams to see if anything jumps out at you.

4. Music: Listening to music makes my brain go wild! Whenever you listen to songs, don’t you always just sit back and imagine a whole new world? Loud music gets me distracted and in my case I love listening to soft piano music or movie soundtracks to get my mind going.

5. Life Experience: This is a brilliant way for getting new ideas. Instead of being in familiar surroundings, go somewhere you’ve never been before. Do something you’ve never done or always wanted to. This is a sure way of getting story ideas and great locations for your stories. Look at your own life, yourself and the people around you. Is there anything that you want to write about?

6. Senses: I’ve put this separate from Life Experience, though both can correlate with each other. Using all five of your senses – hear, smell, touch, taste and sight – you can create yourself a world of your own for your own locations. Just imagine being your character, you’ll feel what they feel, you’ll see what they see, you’ll touch what they touch, you’ll hear what they hear and you’ll smell what they do. Write them down and you could be at the start of creating and expanding your own story’s universe!

7. Movies/TV Shows: Watching any kind of Movie or TV Show can get anyone’s mind reeling with ideas. Watch new movies and TV Show’s that you haven’t seen before. Watch something that is specific to your genre of writing. I was watching a movie the other day called ‘Midnight in Paris’. It stars Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams. The story is about a man who goes to Paris with his fiancΓ©. He’s a screenwriter and is having trouble writing his first novel. He is finding that he lacks the inspiration and falls in love with the 1920’s era of Paris. Since being in Paris, every day at midnight, Owen’s character mysteriously finds himself in 1920’s Paris; where he meets his most favourite and most influential authors. There he finds his inspiration into writing and I urge all writers to actually watch this movie and see it for yourself. It’s really beautiful and it really makes you think. What would you do if you saw your most favourite author?

8. History: Go to the library and look up some of your favourite parts of history. Go on the internet and watch documentaries. It’s amazing how some of our Earth’s history can inspire a writer to think up amazing ideas. It’s also great for locations in your story as well as what the people were like back in the days. My favourite is Egyptian history; it’s so vast and really exciting.

9. Writing Groups: Join a writing group. Whether it is on the internet or in person. You’ll find that other people have the same writing style as you do or different styles altogether. You can all brainstorm together various ideas and you may even find something which you’ve never even thought about! I heard that J.K.Rowling and J.R.R.Tolkien were in the same writers group. I’m not sure how true this is, so I’m not stating it as a fact.

10. Writing Journal: Get any kind of exercise book. I have a large one with over 200 pages. Anytime you have a story idea or any kind of idea at all, just jot it down and get back to it later. I have over 15 pages of ideas, which progressed into storylines.

I hope this has been helpful to you all and that you get some ideas for how you can go about your own inspiration. If the ideas don’t come to you, don’t fret. It takes time and you need these steps in order to expand your imagination. It’s amazing that anything we do can give us inspiration; you just have to look deeper in order to find it. Keep writing, everyone!

Feel free to write down below ways YOU get your inspiration. By working together we can all help each other out with various techniques of expanding our imagination.