Film Friday: Notorious (1946)


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Going back into the film vaults for this Film Friday (I thought about using Captain America: The Winter Soldier but then I thought three Disney films in a row was a bit much):




Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Notorious stars Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant.  Yes, it’s in black and white.  Yes, it’s nearly sixty years old.  Yes, you must run out and find a (legal) way to watch it, now, especially if you love romance novels.  Because this is a humdinger of a romance, with deliciously grey characters who feel as decidedly relevant as anything being published in gritty contemporary romance.

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Film Friday: Saving Mr. Banks


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Oh, New Year’s Resolutions, how quickly I break you.  I meant – and still mean – to blog every about a film every Friday, but the last few weeks months got away from me.

Better late than never, right?

This week’s film was prompted by a well-articulated, thoughtful review of SAVING MR. BANKS by CarrieS on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

SAVING MR. BANKS (PDF of the script can be found here) is the “true” story of how Walt Disney persuaded the author of Mary Poppins, P.L. Travers, to sell him the film rights to her beloved creation.

(Which in a way makes this a perfect corollary to my post on plagiarism vs. copyright infringement: here is an entire film built upon the granting of derivative rights!  This is also why I cringe when people call authorized derivative works, such as film adaptations, “fan fiction.”  They’re not.  For one, they are rarely made by true fans, although Walt certainly tries to sell himself as one in this film. Film adaptations and other licensed, derivative media are often a calculated business decision more than than anything else.  Rarely are they an act of labor inspired solely by love for the original work.  So to call them “fan fiction” seems a disservice to fan-created works. IMO.)

SAVING MR. BANKS tells two parallel stories. The first is set in 1961 and mostly details the two weeks P.L. Travers spent in California, working with the Sherman Brothers and Don DaGradi on the film script of Mary Poppins while bedeviling Walt Disney’s attempts to secure the rights.  The second story is set in 1906 Australia and features the tragic family life of a ten year old Travers, then called Ginty.  The two stories are intercut, with scenes from Ginty’s childhood often used to inform the behavior of the adult Travers.

The Lesson Creative Writers Can Draw From SAVING MR. BANKS:

How to Create “Unlikeable” Characters and Still Make the Readers Care

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Copyright Infringement vs. Plagiarism: A lay (wo)man’s view of what writers need to know about these terms often used interchangeably but they really, REALLY aren’t.


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With special guest star: Fan Fiction!

So, my social media stream and newsreader is full these days about the latest scandal du jour in the publishing/writing world: Shey Stahl’s alleged plagiarism of multiple fan fiction authorswork.

Or is it copyright infringement?

There are a lot of opinions and learned opinions and outright statements that may or may not be legally sound flying around the internet.  And this is an area about which writers desperately need to be educated, so as to avoid legal tangles, loss of income and/or social media kerfuffles.

I am not a lawyer.  This is not legal advice.  Should you find yourself needing help with copyright infringement, seek out an attorney who specializes in intellectual property law.  Also, the following pertains to the United States only.

However, I have worked in creative industries alongside the intellectual property teams, and this is the result of reading many C&Ds and attending meetings about protecting my employers’ rights.

Yes, 2 Live Crew is relevant to this blog post

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Publishing Predictions for 2014, Rounded Up and Consolidated


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Wizard Predictions

The Wizard is ready to predict for 2014.  Look, he even has his party hats ready!

A New Year, a new rash of publishing predictions for the year ahead. It’s no secret that the publishing world has been rocked by the digital revolution in the last few years.  (Although, seriously, guys, Napster was what…2000?….and y’all were STILL taken aback by how much digital delivery would change your world?  Did no one learn anything from the “mostly dead” music industry?  At least Hollywood feels your pain.)

2013 was a year of, if not massive change, then at least moderate to good-sized change in the publishing world.

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Film Friday: FROZEN


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Disney’s Frozen


For the first Film Friday I chose FROZEN.

And no, not for the alliteration, although it’s not a bad side effect.

If you haven’t seen FROZEN, close this page, open up your favorite local theater guide website, and find a showtime.  Then go.  Forget any concerns about Disney princesses reinforcing the patriarchy or worries that Olaf the snowman will be more annoying than multiple nails on particularly squeaky chalkboards (he’s not.  He’s downright charming, in fact.) Yes, it’s animated and the heroines have impossibly big eyes and impossibly tiny waists – although there are various sizes of both men and women on display, especially at the coronation ball.  But it’s not what you think.  Promise.  Go now.

Don’t read further until you’ve seen it, because spoilers abound.  And you don’t want to be spoiled.  Trust me.  And I’m usually a spoiler lover.

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