Ryan M. Church

Archive for May, 2013|Monthly archive page

No Matter Your Skill Level All Stories and Art Are Valuable–What Really Counts Is the Appreciation of the Progressive Growth, and Evolution From Early Works To Latest, and the Final Works

In Uncategorized on May 29, 2013 at 12:42 am

Some of the most beautiful and emotionally stirring artwork is done by children. But, society doesn’t encourage artists and storytellers. You have heard the reasoning – It doesn’t put food on the table, or pay the bills. So because it doesn’t manifest in a tangible Blue Collar product you can put your hands on. But if you realistically apply the economic metrics, nearly all Blue Collar jobs are contracted slave labor. You agree to work for the MAN at a set price, which pays for your house, your car, your food, your utilities, perhaps there is some left over for entertainment, or a vacation, and if your smart or super thrifty you can save for your retirement.

Parents wish the best for their children and often encourage their children to try to study for a White Collar job, which earns more money. So studies in Law, Medicine, Business, and finances. Creativity gets excluded from White Collar work. It’s all by the  book. While White Collar folks have more money to spend on the Arts it is often given less consideration than the products of Blue Collar slave labor. Just watch the Academy Awards. The Awards mostly go to realistic stories which are given the label SERIOUS FILMS, as though they are of greater value than comedies, romances, science fiction,and fantasy. Some of those SERIOUS FILMS to me are either boring or  are of the THOUGHT PROVOKING variety that have such a convoluted narrative that make Quentin Tarantino’s version of Dante’s Inferno set in Alice’s Wonderland, traversed back and forth through dimension, time through the Mad Hatter’s tea party while exploring all the levels of hell a walk in the park. I usually end up disturbed and ill after watching a SERIOUS THOUGHT PROVOKING FILM, and I happen to like weird stories.

But, most people enjoy their movies to make them laugh, cry, scream, and grip their seats. All these kinds of stories rely on simple ideas. You can apply some mathematic principles to improve the visualization and the pacing to improve a story and art. Just take a look at the architecture of the pyramids on the Giza Plateau. They are simple four sided triangular shaped buildings which have the dimensions of both the Golden Mean and the Fibonacci Spiral. The Pyramids are also aligned with the belt of Orion and pointed toward the Constellation of Leo at the time it was built. So a little beauty, mixed with mathematical formulas, and scientific knowledge pushes Art to greater value. But culturally we only value it in Antiquity rather than in the every day.

We should change our thinking. So that an immigrant learning a second language can write simple poetry that reflects their experience within the limits of their limited knowledge of the second language can be appreciated for it’s beauty and value. Rather than judging their shortcomings before they even try to express themselves.

Then when someone shares what they can do creatively Their efforts are validated, and those who are inspired by it can encourage them to try something new, or learn something new and apply it to their imagination.

It would be even more amazing if art, science, and mathematics could be infused into Blue Collar work, so that the implied slave contract is no longer valid, because it is an art and a science all it’s own. As many of these professions once were and should be again. If only a recognition of the unity between Art and Practicality can be realized. I think this will bind us closer to our gods more spiritually than doing acts of obeisance in a holy place ever will.

I always felt closer to creation when I was making/creating something than doing anything else. This is where true growth comes from and our greatest value is in the expression of Art.

If you have few skills in Art. That’s OK. Even if your first attempts lack grace in beauty. And, you should be proud of it. Even if it is a failed piece of crap. It was an attempt and perhaps you learn that outlet doesn’t suit you, because there is more than one way. Even artistic style may emerge because you can’t do it the way everybody else does it. Sometimes just a tweak here and there might transform what otherwise be hideous into a wonderful, whimsical surprise that can only be achieved by your own hand, and every time a unique gift to the living.


Judging a Book by It’s Cover

In Uncategorized on May 10, 2013 at 8:42 pm

Legends of Windemere

Hero Cover Final

You know the drill.  You walk into the bookstore (work with me on-line only shoppers).  Your eye catches sight of a book and it will not let go.  Your curiosity is peaked, so you look at the book and slowly reach out.  Or you simply snatch it off the shelf like you were raised by wolves.  Either way, you are holding a book without knowing anything about it.  Sure, you’re going to read the back and maybe skim a few pages.  Preferably not the back pages, which is the reading equivalent of cheating.  Yet, what brought you to this book in the first place when it’s sitting among other books?

Most likely the phenomenal cover art.  Let’s be honest, people.  If a book’s cover looks like a toddler made it with a crayon or it was slapped together within 5 minutes, we don’t really trust the inside.  Presentation is everything…

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In two hours I learned eight important things about screenplays

In Uncategorized on May 9, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Gwen Bristol

Two hours of this past Saturday were spent in a room in the local library, where I attended a terrific class with folks from my writing group. We learned about screenwriting. There will be a follow-up class in two weeks, and I’m already excited about it.

I can say this much about it: it may very well change the way I write all my fiction. At the very least, I’ll be taking different things into account when I write my first and second drafts and before I begin writing, when I plot the book and start getting to know my characters.

Rather than writing out everything I learned, I’m including a simple list here. Please feel free to browse through it, pull out the tidbits that help you most and put them to work wherever you need them.

What I learned about screenwriting:

  • The best formula for screenwriting involves…

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The Most Important Rule of Working With Others -Rewards For Taking Part and Lending A Hand: One Way or Another Everyone Must Get Paid, “Validate The Parking, And, Don’t Forget The Peanuts Please! Or Suffer The Consequences.”

In Uncategorized on May 8, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Hey, if its just you telling stories to a blank wall, writing poetry to a garbage can, or a script to a locked vault then the results of your imagination are their own reward. But, if you are sharing the load with others depending upon them to deliver, while depending on you for direction, ego’s will be hurt and offended if they are not rewarded for giving their vulnerability to the craft and art of storytelling. They may be willing to forgo monetary reward for the chance of gaining experience, but if you fail to deliver any compensation they may walk away from the project. At the bare minimum you should pay them by feeding them and if they traveled at their own expense they deserved to be housed for free.

This is one of those things I learned from experience. I got the opportunity to work on an independent feature film project with no budget, during the preproduction process in the fall of either 1994 or 1995 mostly printing and organizing the proposal for the film as well as generating letters trying to get as much free assistance as possible. Everybody was working on it for free in the hope that it might lead to bigger opportunities. It was something we believed we could do. I was summoned to be available on set before I planned on being there and worked the insane 20 hours a day work schedule for two solid weeks. I even missed my first day of classes that Winter semester leaving many of my friends making up stories of my untimely demise.

So, I was a part of the dedication to make it possible. But, I was also there when I heard the actors were about to walk and go to SAG, because of inadequate compensation during the shoot. I think they got 20 bucks or so spending money per day and were fed during the shoot. This incident taught me the most important rule of collaboration. If you can’t afford to pay them you have to give out some kind of reward for their hard work and efforts, because the hours might be the kind to make anyone crazy. Anyone in the storytelling arts are a little crazy anyway and need the validation that their efforts are appreciated or they may not care about the outcome. Usually the easiest way to make them happy is to feed them and offer them shelter.

It kind of reminds me of Kevin Costner’s character in ‘The Postman’ seeking food and shelter for doing a one man and his donkey performance of scenes from Shakespeare.

I believe the rewards for following this rule are greater than the price and the whole enterprise depends upon it. If you cannot even give them food then perhaps other prizes or rewards can be offered. When working with others you have to give them something that shows that their efforts are appreciated, respected, and that they are believed in. This is what it’s all about. Money is secondary, perhaps even tertiary in spite of the fact it is still the preferred currency. But, the need for validation is the prime motivator.

Any collaboration is guaranteed to fail If you are not prepared to keep the troops pleased. Besides when you bring together the oddly matched assortment of people crazy enough to work with you virtually becomes a family and it is your responsibility to take care of this virtual family that may just be nuttier than your real family during the holidays.


In Uncategorized on May 7, 2013 at 8:46 pm

Screenwriting 101: Everything You Know About Outlining is Wrong | Filmmakers, Film Industry, Film Festivals, Awards & Movie Reviews | Indiewire

In Uncategorized on May 6, 2013 at 8:15 pm

Screenwriting 101: Everything You Know About Outlining is Wrong | Filmmakers, Film Industry, Film Festivals, Awards & Movie Reviews | Indiewire.

How To Learn In The Best Possible Way

In Uncategorized on May 6, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Everything we learn is through the stories we tell. Not just the one called reality. You can chop up the linear narrative of reality and change it’s meaning by turning reality into a fiction meant to manipulate the audience to the will of the storyteller. There is a name for having only a single narrative of reality: ‘Propaganda based upon lies or false premises’. It is only a true reality if there are a multitude of perspectives on the event as well as the full true and transparent chronological record of it.

One of the strongest early learning experience that has made an impression on my desire to continue to read and learn new things I had was while our teachers would have us read a story and discuss our interpretations of the story and every possible answer was correct even when opinions clashed. And that’s when the honesty is brought out in all of us.

In order to understand the value of that lesson I would suggest watching ‘The Carol Burnett Show’. You will witness the blessing of allow yourself to be vulnerable in front of others in a place where it is safe for everyone is safe to be vulnerable. It is a place where we can respect all opinions, values, and all emotions, with an openly and beautifully irreverent heart.

If you can do that than learning and storytelling can be a source of true intimacy and bliss. Something I often find lacking in the character of those who treat the art of storytelling as though it is 100% bullshit. Anyone who flat out admits to hating movies usually doesn’t respect the opinions of others and follows a course of reality that is 100% propaganda. Just my personal experience. I could accept your belief that I am mistaken. I just haven’t seen it turn out any other way 100% of the time from birth to now. I am well on my way to being forty. So, this has informed my outlook.

The Moral of the story: Learn by vigorous unfiltered reading and keep your thoughts open to evolution by inclusion and vulnerability.

The other side of the learning coin is experience. From experience we learn how to improve our skills. Trial and error.

The Moral of My Second Point: Put yourself out there and be willing to learn from being wrong.

The best writing advice I ever read was:

Be scary.

– Forgive my mushy brain, this damnation of a headache, and the book being in a box lying ion the floor of a basement a State away. But I believe the book in question is called SCREENWRITING 101.

Blow your own mind with infinite possibilities. You know sexy, nutty, and ever onward, kinda’ like Carol Burnett.

The Idea of Collaboration, A Guided Storytelling Experience

In Uncategorized on May 2, 2013 at 2:34 am

I am starting something new or perhaps rare, but I hope it catches on. I am hosting two Interactive Fiction (Inter-Fi) projects on the following blogs:

This is for all aspiring creative thinkers, storytellers, writers, artists, photographers, filmmakers, audio program directors, narrators, voice actors, actors, role-players, set designers, prop designers, fashion designers, make up artists, and genre fans who are invited to join in and take part.

The Basic concept: A person presents their concept with the understanding that anyone can participate to help develop and execute the project. While the creator of the original concept retains creative and editorial control they allow the project to develop organically through fan participation. I think this is could be used as teaching tool for aspiring writers who still look to a mentor for inspiration, by utilizing roleplaying and improvisational tools. It also allows fans to contribute to the project. While I suppose any format might do. But, I think a few format guidelines should be suggested to provide some consistency to each project.


All collaborative project has two components Administrative and Creative. If you are flying solo you would make your own rules and there may be little or no need for the Administrative Component, and, the Creative Component will be anything you make it. But, when collaborating and sharing the process and responsibilities in creating, a few guidelines should be delineated for consistency and to avoid toxic chemistry between collaborators.


The Administrative Component is a living work in progress from project to project as needed. This component has a three-fold purpose:

  1. Facilitation – The Function of Facilitation is to keep the Creative Component consistent with the Project Bible, managing creative prompts, choosing the official content from submissions, and mediating disputes. Facilitation should be only evident by the quality content and exceptional execution of the second and third purpose of the Administrative Component.
  2. Rules of Etiquette – These rules serve to minimize conflicts between parties involved in the process of developing and adding content to the project. These Rules should be put into writing to attempt to eliminate conflict in the process. In Essence codifying submission requirements, acceptable and unacceptable behavior amongst all parties, and the process of preventing and resolving interpersonal and creative conflicts.
  3. Recognition – Having your ideas chosen and included in the content is recognition enough, but, I have found that it is essential to compensate collaborators for their efforts even if the creator has nothing to offer. That is why I think a system of offering a points system so that any contributor can see how their contribution matches up to contributions to others as an incentive to gain more points by submitting more ideas.

I have boiled the Creative component into three identifiable elements. The project itself can use the simple framework I describe here. I expect that even if the names are changed, expanded upon, or even  rearranged that they will still be present in the project.

  1. Narrative – The stories in all their forms need a central place where they can be indexed by chronology, storyline and offer access to available sources.
  2. Project Bible – The essential resource for any aspect of the project. In closed projects the Bible is only available to the collaborators. But in the case of an Interfi project the Bible should be publicly visible, because collaboration is open to public involvement
  3. The Gallery – For project inspired artwork, designs, and other fan and collaborator mayhem.aaaaaaaAa

Art is A Dying Art, Or, Once Upon A Time Every Aspect of Everyday Life Required Art And Function To Be One Until Capitalism Conquered Reality By Sending Art to the Back of the Bus And Shoved It Under The Seat

In Uncategorized on May 1, 2013 at 4:44 am

I am watching the late Huell Howser touring the train museum in Arcadia as I write this. I urge anyone to see any museum that displays the tools, machines, jewelry, fashion, architecture, and furniture of the past. You will find amazing works of art  that were all a functional part of our lives. Every time I see go and see these things I feel a wave of emotions such as amazement, bafflement, and, wonder. The Corporate push for profit drove all sorts of building and manufacturing to cheaper and cheaper methods devaluing the cultural quality of all our everyday homes, products, and machines.

On April 5th I went with my family to see the California State Train Museum in Sacramento. My nephew is an avid fan and loves to toot his brand new wooden train whistle. So, the train motif has a special place in our hearts and has opened my eyes to the beauty and artistry of the past. I have seen this before in the various museums and exhibits I have seen in the past. But like most revelations they don’t hit home until you see it through the wonder of a child, and catching the details they miss along the way.

While walking through the exhibits you come to see how each and every passenger was treated like royalty by the service staff on the trains. Everyone was afforded courtesy and expected some form of respect from either the staff or the passengers. In spite of the racial inequality between staff and passenger this particular value gave pride to both sides. When this part of our culture was lost to save a buck for business. We lost it for our fellow man. By the time I was a little kid most people no longer appreciated the lost art of courtesy and no longer knew how to treat others with respect. People use to have better coping skills and tougher skin when dealing with bullies. I wonder if losing these skills is the reason why.

I remember going to school in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. The Government began collecting more money through significant tax hikes for schools while simultaneously began gutting the Arts. These days, I hear a lot about vocational schools. Some of the course work would have been very fascinating in my days in school. While I admit I know very little about these schools, I do know that they are training so that they can leave High School ready for a Career. Following my logic most coursework will be focused on job training including math and writing courses applied to a career path. If that’s the case the main motivation for education is for employment. History, art, philosophy, science get perverted or distorted for the benefit for a corporation.

If the corporation fails, and these vocationally trained kids are left out in the cold, I wonder if they will be left functionally and slightly socially illiterate, because they are left without knowing the critical thinking through creativity to easily navigate the new reality, because of a dependence upon the trained one. It may not be the truth for all, but, I have personally met many in my life that are not given the understanding of the value that caring about the past provides, and lack the skills to adapt to rapidly changing futures. I have been seeing the opportunities of those skill sets a vocational school might provide getting outsourced overseas for more than five years. The jobs are not coming back. It seems we are training them for failure in these schools. It seems that the skills for invention are dying in the States, because we are taught to value industry over art.

Perhaps this value is the very difference between Man being parasitic or human.

Huell also visited Griffith Park where they have a set of working tracks for mini locomotives. They have trains that run on the tracks, but enthusiasts who have their own trains scaled down to the track width can ride the rails on their own custom built trains. All the people who work at these places are volunteers. They make no money but ask for donations to keep the trains running. Then it dawned on me, they do get paid. They get paid in fun and pure joy. And it all makes sense. If we were paid in fun and joy we would remember how to create art in every activity we engage in from the moment we wake till the time our heads hit the pillow. If fun and joy were our currency all our needs and wants would be fulfilled as well as the return of politeness, creativity, and art in our lives in abundance. The use and need for money would be obsolete and would be as extinct as the dinosaurs. Why would anyone bother with war or allow anyone to suffer the effects of poverty.

I have comet o the conclusion that Art and expression are essential tools for human survival, and that neither should be disregarded and should be amongst our highest values. It is the fictions in our lives that leads to innovation and  resourcefulness. I think it’s time to bring art back into our lives and not just as consumers removed from the artists. Life is more interesting that way anyway.