Friday, March 26, 2010

selfmade. chamomile tea

Next Thursday, the magazine selfmade. will launch at Red River College's Princess Street Campus. The magazine is an awesome collaboration between myself, Jenn Twardowski, Neal Snikeris, and Michael Fleischmann. You should join our Facebook group and come out to the launch, but meantime, here's a recipe for growing and making your very own chamomile tea.


Winterize seeds in an ice cream pail half full of soil, with holes in the bottom and lid. Three inches of soil should be on top of the seeds. Water the soil and put pail outside for six weeks in the winter. Plants will be ready to transplant in spring.


Flowers are ready for picking when petals begin to curl backwards. At this point, if they aren't picked, they'll go to seed in a day or two and lose their potency.


Dry picked flowers for a maximum of 10 days. After they're dry, store in an airtight bag or container.


Add two or three buds per cup of tea, to taste.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

In Which Our Heroine Tries to Take Up Less Space

Recently in a Creative Writing class, I had the opportunity to watch the darkly humorous British short film Joyride. The simple story it tells in under a half hour astounded me, not only because of how much happens but also because of the completeness of the story arc. From inciting incident to resolution, the plot is suspenseful and intriguing - and the script was probably no more than ten pages.

Less recently and also funny yet tragic: local filmmaker Sean Garrity's Zooey & Adam. This film didn't even have a full-fledged script - instead, it evolved organically out of a three-page outline written by Garrity. These two films represent minimalism at its finest and most efficient.

I am not that kind of a person.

I'm the kind of person whose outline probably resembles an entire script in length - and not for a short film, but for a James Cameron-length epic. I'm the kind of person who, when Karen Press announced a ten-page short film script assignment, promptly wrote what amounts to a novella in order to establish my characters' backgrounds, but I haven't made any headway on the script. This is mostly due to my indecision. What to keep from the novella, and what to toss? And how to convey all this background information while at the same time advancing a compelling plot from its start to its finish?

My saving grace will probably be the fact that I can work with images. I can convey, with a single shot of a character's apartment, her relationship status, work ethic, favourite colours, financial status, what books she likes to read, etc. Rather than needing five pages to describe a bar, I can have the protagonists enter the bar and the audience can take in all the sights and sounds at a single glance.

As I embark on only my second adventure into screenwriting, it is very important to keep these things in mind.

And it's important to try to be a minimalist. Wish me luck!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Thrifty IPPs

IPPs are not cheap. A lot of time, money, thought and work goes into creating a finished professional-looking project that the creator can be proud of. After three days of IPPs, here are my observations:

Freaking out: $$$$$$$$$


Not seeing friends, family, significant others: STRESSTRESS

Being finished, and looking down at a finished product that you created: priceless.

Sometimes, it's just worth it. :)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I'm sorry, I can't read what you scribbled on this torn piece of paper.

Here in CreComm Year 1, 70-odd students are polishing up their skills and perfecting their professional images. That includes the all-important first impression. As many of you know from a previous blog post, I'm plagued by curly hair and can't ever hope that my looks will be equal to any situation. Therefore, I require all the accessories that are just add-ons for people with straight, polished hair. Among these: the business card.

There are lots of options for business cards, and I've explored a few of them since my first day of CreComm in August 2009. I found some blank business-card-shaped papers that had been inserted between my mother's business cards to ensure the ink didn't run from card to card. On these, I put my name, contact info, and current status (CreComm student) with a green calligraphy pen. (I'm no graphic artist, but I do pride myself on my penmanship) I have handed these out at conferences, seminars, and randomly, to the point that I have run out and must now consider more costly options.

Anyone could make their own business cards with knowledge of Photoshop and InDesign. There are even thick papers you can get that are already perforated - once you've set your printer up right and it's printed eight cards per page, just punch them out and you're ready to go! Or buy the cardstock yourself and cut them out afterwards. The costs here are paper, ink, and possibly software. But just as important is another cost: time.

There are also many options online. Some companies will print business cards for incredibly low rates - such as Vista Printers - and only charge for shipping on certain orders! That's the key though. These 'certain orders' allow you to choose from 20 designs - while generous, suppose that none of the 20 adequately communicate the image you want to give to clients. What then? You can look elsewhere, upgrade to the more costly print runs with larger or custom design options, or convince yourself that the image of the girl biting into the strawberry really will work for your day care.

Presently, I'm torn. I'm running low on handmade business cards, and computer-designed and -printed cards look much more professional, though a handmade one does stand out. To do in-house (make them mysef) or outsource (pay a commercial printer/choose a ready-made design) is the current dilemma. How will it be resolved and how much will it cost? Stay tuned!