Monday, September 16, 2013

MC Foley wants you to get off the couch!

MC Foley (Courtesy of MC Foley)
I'm incredibly excited to interview MC Foley today. This wonder woman is not only the Coordinator of the Writers Guild of America's Showrunner Training Program, but she is also a former international slam poetry performer, a self-published author, a fitness fanatic, and a soon-to-be reality star. To say that I am in awe of her energy, accomplishments, and general awesomeness is an understatement.

The first time I met MC was right after I had published Hell's Game. I was unsure of what I wanted to do next in my career, and after a sit down with MC, who was generous with her extensive knowledge of the publishing landscape, I was inspired to do a series, which led me to write The Red Lantern Scandals. At the time, I was fairly new to the self-publishing game, but she had proven success. Her YA fantasy novel, The Ice Hotel, was being adapted by Oscar-nominated screenwriters, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson (The Fighter) and her sexy paranormal novel The Cure was a hit on Amazon.

Today, I continue to be inspired by her because of her new project, "From Alky to Alcohol."  Her blog is an honest account of how one can change her life for the better with exercise, and seeing the photos of her being a kickass athlete motivated me to get off the couch. Hopefully after reading her interview, you'll want to do the same. 

TL: Thanks so much for stopping by! First off, what writer or what work inspired you to write? MCF: Honestly, I can’t say a specific writer inspired me to write at the very start – what really inspired me was that, as a kid, I was unhappy with my surroundings and so I wrote myself into better and/or different worlds. It felt like I had more control over my real world that way. However, when I did get sprung on writers, one of my first favorites was Roald Dahl – especially Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Recently, Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking YA trilogy and his book A Monster Calls BLEW me away and inspired me to finally write a book in first person POV – that’s my dark paranormal erotica novella,
The Cure.

TL: Early in your career, you were a performance artist who won a slam poetry contest. What are some of your tips for aspiring slam artists? 

MCF: Yes, I did several slams around the bay area and on my first time to the National Poetry Slam in Chicago, our team won and I was flown to Denmark and London to begin touring as a performance poet. I haven’t been around that world lately, but tips I can give from back then would be:  
  1. Don’t mimic people, find your own style. I saw quite a bit of mimicry in that world and it infuriated me. For example, there is a phenomenal poet named Taalam Acey from NYC, who I never thought got the proper credit for his brand and style. I began seeing other poets biting his style and it killed me not just because it felt so artificial, but because these poets would get high scores and claps and credit for something they did NOT invent. To me that’s as shitty as plagiarism and I wanted to slap the shit out of those people.  
  2. Write a lot – you’re going to need several pieces to carry you through.  
  3. Please don’t just be that angry poet. Unless it’s 100% who you really are. I used to judge a lot of competitions and you’d get poets up there who’d be angry in every single one of their pieces. Even if the piece was about peanuts or teddy bears. I’d sit there and think “why the F are you always yelling??”  
  4. To break in, be like Nike. Just do it.
  5. I remember when I was in Denmark, for some reason my brand of poetry wasn’t flying. I scored pretty low all the time and it made me question my writing and performance. Then we get to London and I KILLED IT. Different audiences take to different things. It’s pretty fascinating, actually.
MC Foley's The Cure was one of my favorite
books that I read in 2012. If you want to 
purchase a copy, The Cure
TL:. I really enjoyed your NC-17 paranormal revenge tale, The Cure. How did you come up with the idea? Was it hard to write something so dark?
MCF: The idea struck me because I woke up one day and I was annoyed at everything in LA. Annoyed at the douchebag guys I’d met recently, the insane entertainment industry, the random daily bullshit, the grind that never seemed to pay enough money – all of a sudden the story just exploded out of me. I’d also just read Patrick Ness’s book, so, was powerfully impacted by his excellent use of first person POV. I slammed out the novella in a month. It wasn’t hard to write something so dark because it was my way of achieving wish fulfillment on behalf of me and all of the other struggling creative types in LA. If I can’t saw your fingers off or expose your hypocrisy on a grand level in real life, at least I can satisfy my needs on paper. Verbal masturbation.
PS: you go through phases in life, and I’m now on the polar opposite end of that perspective on LA. I f&*()_ng love LA and I’ve built an amazing circle of friends here and an amazing life. Which makes it a bit difficult to go back into that headspace to write the second book inThe Cure series. But that’s just a typical challenge of writing, eh? Gotta MAKE yourself do it sometimes.
TL: Some people have misconceptions about what all writers are like—that they are introverted, tortured souls—but you totally disprove that by being an accomplished writer and a fierce athlete (see picture below.) Have you always been into fitness or is this recent? Why should others put down the liquor bottle and start caring about their wellness?
MC Foley proves that writers can be fierce.
Photo courtesy of From Alky to Athlete
MCF: I’ve always been into fitness but lately I RAMPED it up in a major way because I wanted to transform my life intensely. I aim for excellence on a daily basis, and I located myself close to a gym with extremely dynamic workout classes. I’ve been shaping a lifestyle that is a fusion of extreme physical exertion and using my writing skills to inspire others to push themselves towards this as well. Hence the “From Alky to Athlete” blog – where I aim to be brutally honest about my experiences with and opinions about exercise, sex and booze. One major goal with the blog is that I will produce enough material to publish a non-fiction book of the same title.  
Just because you write doesn’t mean you have to define yourself as a writer and only a writer, thereby excluding a myriad of amazing experiences which present themselves to all of us humans each and every day. You are a human first – a writer second. Or third. Or whatever the hell number you want to pick.
TL: You are a very prolific writer who also works full time with the Writers Guild of America as the Coordinator of their Showrunner Training Program.** Many people have asked me how to find work-write balance, and I was wondering if you had any tips on the subject. 
**(The Showrunner Training Program is conducted in partnership with The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, and it's an industry training program designer to help senior level writer-producers hone the skills necessary to become successful television showunners.)
MC Foley hangs out at the gym.
(Courtesy of "From Alky to Athlete.)
MCF: Well… here’s the thing – I’m an extremist. For example, my recent Nike+ fuel band measurement of physical exertion rated my activity as about four times more than the average Nike+ community member. So… I’m naturally driven to murder shit no matter what I do. I kill it in the gym. I slam out writing when I decide I want to. It’s just in my blood. However, I also have no children, one little dog, a very short commute and can walk to the gym. This is all extremely important. When I first looked for an office job in LA (to get away from the painful PA gig that was sucking my entire life away), I specifically told the temp agency, which I knew placed people at CBS, Paramount and The Writers Guild, that I only wanted to work at one of those three places or within 5 to 7 minutes driving distance from my house. They laughed at me, but I was dead serious. I was not going to lose several hours of each day sitting in a car, even if it meant starving sometimes. I NEED those life hours to either write or workout or just be alive with other humans.
There have been periods, however, where I am working 12 to 14 hour days and 6 day weeks and I still knock out my writing and exercise, because it’s THAT important. For example – I wrote The Ice Hotel during an intense work period where I was doing exactly that. 12 to 14 hour days. 6 day weeks. But I just had to write it because I was driven. In that instance, my drive was fueled by the fact that I was writing it because my friend died. But nevertheless…

TL: You meet a lot of successful television writers because of your position as the Coordinator of the Showrunners Program with the Writers Guild of America. Do you have any advice for aspiring television writers? 
MCF: 

  1. Do NOT ask people for favors or to give you things when you’ve just met them. That is about one of the worst things you could ever do, and yet I see it happen all the time. Why in the hell should this person tell you how to get an agent or read your script when you’ve just met them?? Do you realize how disrespectful that is? Disrespectful of this person’s time as well as this person’s life work. For them to be at the level they’re at they have definitely invested YEARS of SWEAT and hard, hard work. For you to just ask for things makes you look either ignorant, selfish, desperate, childish or just plain stupid. I’m ranting here because I’ve seen it happen SO OFTEN. It boggles my mind. You need to build relationships with people on a human level – and not in an insincere way. People are smart out here, they can sniff that bullshit out pretty quickly. 
  2. Talk less and listen more. 
  3. Write a lot of material. You need an arsenal. 
  4. Take critiques. You’re new. And even if you’re not new, there is always something to learn. If anyone gives you notes on your writing, just listen to the note and consider it later. Do NOT get defensive. Especially if the person read your shit for free. That’s arrogant and you just burned the fuck out of a bridge. 
  5. Be prepared to work your motherf^&*(ng ass off. 
  6. Be prepared to hammer away at this for years without a break through. 
  7. Considering that last point… pay attention to every tiny, positive thing and write it down. “Had a great conversation with so-and-so.” “Read a great script.” “Went to a cool screening Q&A.” “Learned more about post production today.” Be proud of your gradual, daily accomplishments because if you really stay focused and driven and humble and open, you will find that you are making progress each and every day.
TL: What are you working on now? 
MCF: Main project is my From Alky to Athlete blog/book. However, I’m also writing more erotica – I have pages for The Cure book 2, as well as pages for a new erotica without any paranormal elements. Also attending pitch meetings for The Ice Hotel with the screenwriters and producers. Developing a web comedy pilot. And am in the cast of a reality show currently being pitched to the networks. You can also add – murdering shit at the gym every single day, because I consider that part of all this.
TL: Thanks so much for the interview. Is there anything you’d like to add?
MCF: Thanks for the interview, it’s been fun! I’ll just do one more pitch for people to consider exercise as important as their writing – TRUST ME you get a zillion more ideas if you workout on a daily basis, and your thought process is ten times clearer. You also don’t become that stereotypical fat, sloppy, depressive, socially awkward writer. I hate that f&*()Ng stereotype. It’s bullshit and it’s an excuse to stay in your comfort zone, and ps: writers who exercise are SEXY.
Proof that writers who exercise are sexy. (Photo courtesy
of From Alky to Athlete.)

If you'd like to read MC Foley's work, check out:

  1. “From Alky to Athlete” www.alkytoathlete.com
  2. The Cure
  3. The Ice Hotel 

You can also connect with her through social media:

    1. www.facebook.com/AlkyToAthlete
    2. Instagram - @alkytoathlete

    Other posts that may interest you

    How can writers start their own imprint and stand out from the pack? Interview with Peter Shapiro



    I'm a huge advocate of Do-It-Yourself, and I'm looking for other DIY-ers to share their stories. If you're a self-published writer, blogger, independent filmmaker, Youtube star, whatever, tweet me and I may feature you on my blog!

    Friday, September 13, 2013

    "3 Books Everyone Should Read" by Peter Shapiro

    Peter Shapiro, one of the blog's previous Self-Published Writer of the Week, has shared the top three books he thinks everyone should read and why. Do you agree with his guest post? Let us know in the comments!

    Mystic River by Dennis Lehane is a tragic story that Lehane tells with such power and suspense that it is almost unbearable to read. I think it could provide the core of a modern opera. 

    Barney's Version by Mordecai Richler is a tragicomic masterpiece. The way Richler dances between past, present and future as the story unfolds, and his awesome command of language, are amazing for readers to behold as well as instructive for other writers. Trust me, the book is incredibly better and much funnier than the lame, whiny movie with the same name that was made a few years ago.

    Talk Talk by T.C.Boyle: From the torrent of words in the first paragraph, this story is relentlessly suspenseful as it shifts between the perspectives of an identity thief and his victims who are pursuing him.


    OTHER POSTS THAT MAY INTEREST YOU:

    Monday, September 9, 2013

    Is this the most adorable fan family EVER? An interview with self-published writer of the week Chris Hager

    Chris and his wife Tricia in Star Wars cosplay. All photos courtesy of Chris Hager.
    I'm very excited to introduce this week's self-published writer of the week, Chris Hager. Chris resides in Kansas City, MO with his wife Tricia and his baby daughter, and he's a huge film and television buff. That passion has fueled his writing. Not only does he write screenplays and create films, he is also working on "Atlantia Rising," which is an unofficial Battlestar Galactica novel. With recent news of Amazon opening a fan fiction publishing branch and news of fan fiction turning into blockbusters (E.L. James' "Fifty Shades of Grey" pops up into minds), I thought it would be great for an avid member of the fan community to share his story. 

    TL: First off, thanks, Chris, for stopping by the blog. You have written screenplays and now you are venturing into fan fiction with your new work "Atlantia Rising." I was impressed that you loved writing and the show so much that you would devote time for a venture that was not-for profit. So the question on some people's minds is why write fan fiction? What inspired you to do so, and what do you hope to accomplish with it? 

    CH: I think fan fiction is a great way for fans to connect with the story universes they love! Most of us will never have the opportunity to be involved with our favorite franchises. By creating unique characters and stories for those much-loved worlds, one is able to leave a personal mark on them, even if only in their own minds.

    “Atlantia Rising” began as a story line for a fan-based space combat game; it was the opportunity for me to contribute to a project that melded one of my favorite shows with one of my favorite video game genres. While the story and characters I developed would ultimately not find life in that project, years later I still found the characters and core story so compelling that I had to do something with them. The story had become canon in my mind; it belonged in the Battlestar universe. I felt it was good enough that others may feel the same, so I decided to write it and share it with other fans.

    The term fan fiction has earned a stigma over the years, over-generalizing the efforts of fan writers. While it is true that many fan-written stories are rehashes of series plots, what-ifs regarding existing characters or this-is-how-it-should-have-ended stories, others go beyond the source material with new characters and situations that expand the universe in which they are based. In these cases, fan fiction can be as robust, authentic and enjoyable as officially-published expanded universe novels you may find in the bookstore!

    My goal was the latter. Rather than rely on existing characters I chose to view the events of the Battlestar Galactica pilot miniseries through a completely new set of characters. I wanted to tell a new, self-contained story that, while connecting to the television series in some ways, also stood on its own and respected the subject matter enough to be an organic addition to the universe. I feel that I have succeeded!
    "Most of us will never have the opportunity to be involved with our favorite franchises. By creating unique characters and stories for those much-loved worlds, one is able to leave a personal mark on them, even if only in their own minds."
    TLOn your blog, Theunreadableblog, you have a section called "Star Wars Nursery," which showcases your Star Wars-themed nursery for your daughter. Is your wife also a huge sci-fi fan like yourself? Besides Star-Wars what other shows/movies/comics do you two both love? 
    "Ahh... father. Powerful Jedi was he. Powerful Jedi."
    CH: As a matter of fact, the nursery theme was my wife’s idea! I mentioned it jokingly early on in the pregnancy; when the time came to make the choice, that was her pick! I think I sort of brought out the nerd side in my wife; while she liked Star Wars before we met, she found a renewed love for it during our annual New Year’s Star Wars saga viewings!

    After introducing her to Babylon 5, Star Trek and discovering Firefly together, sci-fi is undeniably a mutual love. More than anything, a strong story and compelling characters draw us to the shows and movies we like to watch. I find strong dramas like Homeland, United States of Tara and The Unit just as enjoyable as straight sci-fi shows. Similarly, movies like Lost in Translation, Moulin Rouge and Drive all captivate me with their own unique style and approach to story-telling.
    Super cute baby, she is. Chris' daughter is being groomed to be a Star Wars fan like her parents.
    Chris and his family inside of the Star Wars nursery.
    TL: You are an active volunteer at Kansas City's PLANET COMIC-CON. Last year, you moderated a panel, and this year you greeted media and celebrity guests. What has been your favorite experience at Planet Comic-Con and why?

    CH: Without a doubt, moderating Adrienne Wilkinson’s Q&A panel at Planet Comicon 2012 has been a highlight. Interviewing an actor who has had considerable and unique contributions to the sci-fi and fantasy genres was a pleasure. It is an opportunity few are offered and I hope I get the chance to do something like that again!

    TL: Do you have any tips for newbies who want to start going to conventions?
    Chris with Edward James Olmos at Kansas City Planet Comic-Con 2012.

    CH: As a matter of fact, I did a write up on just this topic a couple years ago; you can read it over at SciFi4Me.com! The main thing to remember, if you are attending a con in order to meet your favorite actors/writers/artists/etc, is that they are indeed people too. It is very easy to get star-struck the first few times you meet people whose work you have enjoyed; I know I did.

    But remember, you are not meeting Captain Malcolm Reynolds; you are meeting Nathan
    Chris and Tricia meet Firefly's Jewel Staite at Tulsa's Trek Expo 2011.
    Fillion. They like meeting new and interesting people just like anybody else. They enjoy a pleasant conversation just like anybody else. They enjoy talking about what they are up to now, just like anybody else.

    Chris and Tricia meet Babylon 5's Mira Furlon at Kansas City's Planet Comic-Con 2010.
    There is nothing wrong with asking these guests the questions you’ve been dying to ask when you have the chance. Just be sure to take the opportunity to connect with them as people also. A little research on where they are now will go a long way and set you up for a more engaging conversation than one centered solely on that one show you saw them in ten years ago. You will find the encounter much more rewarding as a result!

    TL: Anything you would like to add?

    CH: The best writing is that with which the reader finds a connection. Talk to any talented (commercially successful or not) writer and I believe that, almost universally, they will tell you the same thing: the best writing comes from a very personal place.

    Becoming a better writer has required me to become aware of not only my character strengths, but also my flaws. This has been a painful process at times, and certainly humbling; few of us willingly seek out and recognize the darker parts of ourselves. The fact is, these faults exist within each of us and we all struggle to face and overcome them. By focusing on those conflicts that we all deal with but that no one else ever sees, a writer will find a connection with the reader. In so doing, they are in effect sharing in the human experience for a brief time.

    OTHER POSTS THAT MAY INTEREST YOU

    Self-published writer of the week: Peter Shapiro
    What are some good websites to self-publish?
    Should I self-publish?
    Self-published writer of the week: Gregor Southard

    I'm a huge advocate of Do-It-Yourself, and I'm looking for other DIY-ers to share their stories. If you're a self-published writer, blogger, independent filmmaker, Youtube star, whatever, tweet me and I may feature you on my blog! 

    Saturday, September 7, 2013

    What book changed your life? #BookwormsUnite

    On September 4, 2013, I asked people on Twitter, "What book changed your life and why?"I received a ton of amazing responses, and I wanted to share an abridged list with my readers. If there is a book that changed your life that isn't on this list, please comment below or tweet me. I really appreciated the answers, and I can't wait to check out your recommendations!

    1. The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
    2. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
    3. The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
    4. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
    5. The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck
    6. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
    7. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
    8. The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell 
    9. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry
    10. Siddhartha by Herman Hesse  

     If you want to join in on the conversation, follow me @teresalo_tweets or comment below.

    Friday, September 6, 2013

    "Three Books Everyone Should Read" by Efrain Nadal

    Erotica writer, Efrain Nadal de Choudens, took the time to share the top three books he thinks everyone should read and why. Do you agree with his guest post? Let us know in the comments!
    1. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. Not only does it have an emotional and powerful theme, Olive Kitteridge is a novel made of short stories, making this book an easy read and a good example for writers. 
    2. Easter Island by Jennifer Vanderbes, The book consist of two stories, one in the past, the other in the present and both of them collide at the end of the book. It’s a good example for writers that they can actually write two different novellas and mix them at the end. For readers, the book is fantastic because they are reading two stories in one place. Also the book presents various historical facts and introduces the reader to a great culture. 
    3.  A Tale of Two Citiesby Charles Dickens. A good reading list is not complete without a good classic.

    FOR MORE POSTS LIKE THIS:

    Monday, September 2, 2013

    The mind of a critic: an interview with Shaun Henisey

    A Movie a Week (photo courtesy of Shaun Henisey)
    I'm very excited to interview Midwestern film critic Shaun Henisey as this week's Self-Published Writer of the Week. Shaun and I have known each other since I was a freshman in high school. We were  co-editors of the school newspaper together, and we bonded over our love of writing and movies. 

    Currently he runs the film review website A Movie a Week.What sets his site apart from other film review publications is that each movie he reviews, he provides in-depth analysis, similar to a critical studies piece that you would find in academia. He reviews old and new releases, and he covers everything from independent films to big blockbusters. If you would like to connect with him, he is on twitter @Amovieaweek and Facebook.


    TL: Shaun, thanks for stopping by. Let's talk a little bit about your website, A MOVIE A WEEK. What made you decide to create it?
    SH: A Movie A Week began for me as sort of a fluke. I have always loved the movies. I was an only child in a single parent household. My mom worked nights so I would often rent 3 or 4 movies and watch them all in one evening. It was not uncommon for me to watch 20-30 movies a month. I remember purchasing an almanac when I was ten called "Rating the Movies." It was about 1,000 pages of movie titles, synopsises and short reviews. I read through that book dozens of times looking for new movies that looked interesting. What started as a quick impulse purchase over twenty years ago single-handedly sparked my love of film. I began to collect movies and eventually amassed a collection of over 3,000 films at home. Friends would come over for movie night, and we would discuss great films of similar genres. A Movie A Week began as an online attempt to simply share those movies I loved with my friends and family. The idea was that there would be a new title each week for discussion-- kind of like a book club.

    TL: I'm continuously amazed at the quality and depth of your film analysis. How do you find the time to write while also managing another job and a personal life? 
    SH: Finding the time to write while also managing my career and family is certainly a challenge. I always dedicate a certain night (normally Tuesdays) to watch the movie of that week. Even if I have seen the picture countless times before I always watch the movie from a fresh perspective before writing my review. I take notes and then think about what I want to say over the next several days, piecing together notes that I jot down while thinking. I wake up early on either Saturday or Sunday morning and typically I have enough notes that I can write roughly 1,500-2,500 words relatively quickly. It does help that I am a quick typer. I think the trick to being a writer is to make yourself write as much as possible and dedicate a particular time of day to focus on nothing but writing with no distractions. That being said, I find that when you are passionate about what you are writing the words simply sort of flow out of you. It is a great escape. To me, writing is not work-- not writing is.

    "I think the trick to being a writer is to make yourself write as much as possible and dedicate a particular time of day to focus on nothing but writing with no distractions. That being said, I find that when you are passionate about what you are writing about the words simply sort of flow out of you. It is a great escape. To me, writing is not work-- not writing is."
    TL: There are many filmmakers out there who want/need exposure to their films, and getting reviews is a great way to receive it. As a film reviewer, you have many options of movies to feature so what makes you choose the movies you select to review?
    SH:
    How I chose the movies I review is a very difficult question to answer. The website is dedicated to exploring important classic and contemporary films. I try to choose movies that have a certain level of artistic merit-- a certain depth. I pick movies that can actually spawn interesting conversations. Some of the movies I choose are blockbusters (ET/Jaws/The Empire Strikes Back) while others are so obscure many have never heard of them (Ikiru/Synecdoche, NY/Antichrist). I try to span as many genres as possible and shift gears each week to keep things fresh. It is so much easier to look at films through the lens of a genre than from a higher level. I would simply ask myself-- what's the best possible mystery film I could review this week? The next week I would do a foreign film, a comedy, drama, musical, war picture, etc. The idea is to force the reader to branch out to genres that they would not necessarily be drawn upon on their own. I know a lot of people that have never seen a foreign film,  yet when watching Akira Kurosawa's "Ikiru," they weep. The power of film lies in its ability to surprise and resonate. Other factors certainly also influence my writing. Several reviews are direct reflections of things that I may have been going through in my personal life at that time. It is impossible to separate the writer from the writing, and I don't really think I am any exception to that.  
    "I try to choose movies that have a certain level of artistic merit-- a certain depth. I pick movies that can actually spawn interesting conversations."
    TL: In your opinion, what makes a screenplay great vs. good?
    SH: Asking what makes a screenplay great vs. good is such a dangerous question that I almost want to refrain from answering. I love original screenplays as much as the next person, but adaptation is also extraordinarily difficult. Some screenplay's are great because of their complexities-- i.e- Charlie Kaufman's work in Adaptation or Christopher Nolan's inventiveness in  his script for "Inception." Other screenplays are great in their ability to spit out hundreds of years of history in dramatic context- i.e- Steve Zallian and Tony Kushner. Then there are the racounteurs-- the true storytellers that write characters that are simply alive-- like Quentin Tarantino or The Coen Brothers. Some great screenplay's are so different and sparse that they push the medium into more poetic territory- the work of Terrence Malick and Stanley Kubrick comes to mind here. I guess the real benchmark for me is- "Was the picture memorable?" "Was the story effectively told?" Were the characters adequately developed and did they behave in ways that make sense to their motivation?" "Could I listen to a recording of this movie in my headphones at the gym?" If the answer to these questions are yes-- the screenplay is probably a great one. 


     
    TL: What are your three favorite films and why?SH: My three favorite films are "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Raging Bull" and "2001: A Space Odyssey." They are not the "three greatest movies ever made." They are just my favorites. "Raiders" makes me feel like a kid again and is the greatest example of pure cinematic escapism I have ever seen. "Raging Bull" is a movie that resonates with me a great deal in its psychological implications and contains, in my opinion, probably the greatest performance of all time. "2001" is a picture that simply makes me think, contemplate and wonder. It is one of very few pictures that push the limits of what the medium is capable of. That being said, I love so many movies that only stating three is a bit unfair.

    The late and great, Roger Ebert
    "[Roger Ebert] was as passionate as any person that has lived about the movies and always expressed his opinions in thoughtful and easy to understand ways."
    TL: Thanks again for this insightful interview. Now one final question: who are your favorite film reviewers and why?SH: Roger Ebert is my favorite film reviewer, and his "Great Movies" column was also a significant inspiration for A Movie a Week. He was the most trusted pundit in America for years. If you go back and read some of his reviews you can always hear his voice within his written words. He was as passionate as any person that has lived about the movies and always expressed his opinions in thoughtful and easy to understand ways. He is by far my biggest inspiration, although I am also an extreme fan of the late Pauline Kael as well as AO Scott and Magnolia Darghis at the New York Times.Don't forget to check out Shaun's website A Movie a Week.

    OTHER POSTS THAT MAY INTEREST YOU


    I'm a huge advocate of Do-It-Yourself, and I'm looking for other DIY-ers to share their stories. If you're a self-published writer, blogger, independent filmmaker, Youtube star, whatever, tweet me and I may feature you on my blog!