Charles Daly


Category: Blog (page 14 of 15)

Story Sunday

It’s easy for the heavy lifting of plot to make you sore and put you on the bench for a few days. The trouble of “what next?” or how to make your set ups pay off can easily become a series of blocks and lost days coinciding with the beats in your story. This is the danger of making it up as you go along.  

Try scheduling all your story and outlining work on one day of the week. Take this time to figure out what comes next and work on the plot as a whole, revisit your twists and turning points, explore alternative scenes. Spend the other six days writing the thing and defer all plot concerns to story Sunday. 

Rejection Slips

Every ‘no’ gets you closer to a ‘yes.’ 

Don’t Scream at Your Film

“When you’re in the editing room you need to listen to your film and not scream at your film.” 

–Nick Willing, writer and director 

The 3 Evil “C’s”

Cheyne Kohl, music producer and founder of Underground Tracks in Busan, South Korea, sent me this producer’s podcast on three toxic behaviors that can seep into studio work. The host, Joe, urges listeners to stop:

The green eyed monster can spoil your appreciation of great work and even keep you from being happy for a talented friend. It’s not all about you. Think “different” not “better.”

Joe lives in Nashville where everybody’s a musician. He says you can meet guitarists who are better than you in the checkout line at Target. This can be an opportunity to immerse yourself in the community and learn from others, or an occasion for pissing contests. It’s up to you. 

Just don’t go there. Nobody owes you anything and nobody likes whiners. You’re only entitled to your work itself, not the spoils of your work (that’s the Bhagvad Gita, not Ask Joe.)

The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a handy time management strategy that boosts efficiency and reduces fatigue. Here’s how it works:

Set a timer for 25 minutes. Work, without getting up or Facebooking. 

When time’s up take a 5 minute break. 

Repeat with longer breaks every 2 hours.

Try stopping mid-sentence when the bell rings, you’ll never be happier to get back to work. 

“Wear a Jacket at all Times”

In an interview with Bomb Magazine, director Rob Weiss (Entourage, Amongst Friends, How to Make it in America) shares some practical advice for filmmakers working long hours on set. 

“Wear a jacket at all times so you can wrap it under your head when you pass out.”

Image: LA TImes

Sit, Stay

Click the doggy for more comprehensive instructions.

Wear Headphones (at all times)

Show them you’re busy. Find a pair that’s cumbersome to take off–or better yet, the noise canceling type that actually block out the world. Refer to the following script for maximum effect:

           EXT. BUSY STREET, DAY 
           INTERRUPTER–needy and extroverted (master of the ‘real job’)–sees a learned DALY PROSE READER walking down the street, she seems animated by her music and very much 
in her own world. He walks over to say hello anyway.

Bobs head to music. 

 Greetings. So I was just wondering…

Points at ear, mouths ‘I can’t hear you’
like Tom Cruise in Top Gun. Removes bulky headphones.
Sorry, What’s up?

Confidence rattled. Well, um, no, nothing. 
It’s just, I was just… But I can see your busy. 

Smiles and puts headphones back on 

The two part ways, interruption averted. 
               FADE TO BLACK 


“Cut out all these exclamation points,” said F. Scott Fitzgerald, “an exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.”

Author Peter Shankman tweeted: “Multiple exclamation points are the written equivalent to jazz hands.”

Elmore Leonard, in his 10 Rules of Writingsuggests rationing them–one exclamation point per hundred thousand words of prose. Leonard cautions against the word ‘suddenly’ for the same reason–these are crutches for feeble prose. 

Image: Brain Pickings

Chop Wood, Carry Water

“Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.”                              –Zen proverb.

zen garden winter buddha Wisconsin zen
Image: Zen Dojo of Wisconsin
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