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Sunday
Jun122011

The Day of Leonardo DiCaprio

King Dong,Actors,Movies

By a majority vote of three to one and the fact that economist Robert Reich seems to be relatively unknown among those of us who follow the entertainment industry, I am proud to present actor Leonardo DiCaprio with the King Dong crown for the month of June 2011.

Thanks to Anyes at Far away in the sunshine, Tara at Two Hands and a Roadmap, Alana at Writercize and Joyce Lansky at Catch My Words for participating in the selection of a new male celebrity to feature in my King Dong series, each weekend during this month.

Leonardo DiCaprio is rumored to be playing a villian in director Quentin Taratino’s upcoming film, “Django Unchained,” about a slave who seeks revenge on his master. It is said to be one of DiCaprio’s most evil roles to date, as he would play a cruel slave owner who stages deadly fights for fun on his plantation. This is not the first time Tarantino considered DiCaprio for a role in one of his films. Leonardo DiCaprio was once likely to be chosen as a Nazi named Colonel Lander whose nickname is The Jew Hunter in Tarantino’s “Inglorious Bastards.”

If DiCaprio does get the “Django Unchained” role, it would probably be difficult to watch him play a cruel character but the role may add an edge to the perception of this beloved actor in a way that fans enjoy. If Forrest Whitaker can pull off “Last King of Scotland,” than Leonardo DiCaprio could surely be convincing in an evil role while also continuing to be a fan favorite.

Would a Leonardo DiCaprio and Quentin Tarantino collaboration make for a great film?

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Saturday
Jun112011

Favorite Documentaries that Made Me a Better Writer

This guest post is from Rashida of Books, Bass and Beauty who I met during the WordCount Blogathon.

Documentaries are my favorite types of films to watch. There's just something about the reality of them that intrigues me. Anybody can use their imagination to make a good movie. Taking real life and transforming it into a great film, however, is truly amazing to me. As an urban fiction author, I always put some of my real life and experiences in my stories. Watching documentaries helped me learn how to do that. Here are some of my favorite documentaries and how they have made me a better writer, a "docu-writer".

"Very Young Girls"


Everyone's life has a story and it starts when they are just a kid. I learned that from Very Young Girls and I use that in my writing. When creating characters and their back stories, I go all the way back to childhood. I think of the things that have happened to them in their past and how it has made them into the person they currently are. When you go through traumatic experiences and you are forced to grow up at an early age, you carry that with you into adulthood. Thanks to this documentary I now know how to create realistic characters with depth.

"Oh, Saigon"

I stumbled across this documentary on a public access channel one night. The story behind this family hit home immediately. Like Doan, the film maker, I come from a family that is blended and estranged at the same time. Just like hers, my father doesn't visit his family or where he grew up often because of the pain from his past. No matter what race, sex, or religion you are, families are all the same. I keep that in mind in my writing. I have lots of people that read my work that have never had any interest in urban books. What I want is for them to be able feel real emotion and see some of themselves or someone they know in my stories. I do that by being like Doan and putting it all out there for the world to see. I'm not afraid to put my family's history, good or bad, in my writing.

"Backstage"


Backstage is a documentary that goes behind the scenes of the "Hard Knock Life" tour back in 1999. This tour made history because it was the very first all hip hop tour to travel across the country to sold out arenas without any negativity. At that time I was a teenager and the independent hip hop label was still new. Rocafella, Ruff Ryders, and Murder Inc. Records were the front runners of this movement. I love this documentary not only because it's so nostalgic for me, but it was the first time that I saw on film that you can live your dreams and be self-made. Just like hip hop, urban fiction has a bad reputation because of the subject matter. What people don't see are the authors behind those stories. The morals of the stories are overlooked because of the strong language that so many can't seem to get around. So, what Backstage taught me was to stay true to myself and write the stories that come from my heart. No matter who doesn't like what I have to say, I am always Rashida. That's the best and most important thing I've learned thus far!

Rashida is an author and book reviewer of urban/street literature, blogger and lover of hip-hop culture. Become her fan on Facebook or add her on Twitter.

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Friday
Jun102011

How I Lost a Movie and Found a Talent Agreement #GBE2

Last month, I visited a retail space that is often used for pop-up stores and events. I had plans to setup a screening for one of my short films. After discussing how it would fit within the local community with the owner and analyzing all of the variables necessary to pull off a screening and lecture or Q&A type of event, I realized that more planning time than I allocated would be necessary to get it up and running, so I put it on hold and then tried to setup a smaller scale screening event at a different venue to coincide with my completion of the WordCount Blogathon.

I had a flyer designed and tickets almost ready to go. The only thing left to do was promote this screening/party heavily and test the equipment to make sure that the main event would run smoothly, which required me playing my movie at the venue of choice in advance. A few days before it was scheduled to take place, I realized that I lost my own movie.....well, the DVD copy of it. The venue I wanted to use is not equipped to screen films or videos in multiple formats and DVD is the main option. I looked around my apartment for this movie and could only find it on tape. In all of this time, I came across DVDs featuring other people’s films and DVDs of mine, except for the one that I needed.

So, I had to cancel that event and am currently trying to plan another screening. This time, however, I am going to have to get a DVD made specifically for this screening. I contacted one of the production companies that I work with, for help on creating a new DVD. Not only did the producer agree to make the DVD, but he also found the DVD copy of the movie that I was looking for and with it....directed my attention to a small stack of documents that include talent agreements and some other contracts that I didn’t even know I had know idea where they were.

Not only do I need to be more organized but I also need to separate all of the current projects that I’m working on from the previous projects that I did and both of these groups also need to be separated from the work of other filmmakers that I have watched and accumulated over the years.

Man, I wish I could have (read: afford) a personal assistant to keep track of all of my crap.....you know, like what Jennifer Hudson’s Louise character did for Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie character in “Sex and the City: The Movie”!

The lesson here is “Organization” and while that was not exactly part of my 2011 New Year’s Resolution (“productivity” was and is my main focus), I’ll need to add it in somewhere and get productive at becoming more organized!

Stay tuned for a must-read post on writing and documentaries, to be posted tomorrow!

Also, it's not too late to vote for a June King Dong. Will it be Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert Reich (still working on verifying him) or somebody else? YOU make the call!

This post is part of my participation in the Group Blogging Experience (GBE 2) and was written for this week’s “Lost and Found” topic.

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