The Top 5 Things I had to cut from “The Force Isn’t With Me Anymore,” my new essay up on Tablet

My new piece up on Tablet, “The Force Isn’t With Me Anymore,” is about how my lifelong love of Star Wars is clashing with my commitment not to go to the movies. Yes, it is true, this fangirl, the child formerly known in some circles as “Chewbecca,” will not be watching “The Force Awakens.”

O Death Star Play Set, how I miss thee!!

Writing the piece was loads of fun: I got to relive many happy minutes of my childhood. In the original draft, I described the scene when I received my beloved Death Star Play Set (from Kenner!) in loving detail, and included all sorts of wacky stuff that I had to cut for length before turning the article into Tablet. 

Editing out all that material was painful, and so I give you…

THE TOP 5 THINGS I HAD TO CUT FROM “THE FORCE ISN’T WITH ME ANYMORE:”

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Orthodox Women Talk: Roundtable about media consumption

OWTHi, everyone! I know I pretty much never post twice in a day, but I’m hosting this month’s Orthodox Women Talk. Our panelists include:

  • Tali Simon
  • Melissa Amster
  • Ruchi Koval
  • Rivki Silver
  • Keshet Starr
  • Estee Lavitt
  • and yours truly.

This month’s question is this:

How much do you engage in popular music, movies and other forms of entertainment? What factors have contributed to that choice?

Wow! We’ve got a lot of variety in responses. Let’s see what our roundtable panelists have to say... Continue reading

My completely unsolicited review of “Megillas Lester”

After all my recent ranting and raving about Esther in pop culture, I watched a video this afternoon with the husband and kids that made me feel better. I’d first heard about it on Tablet, then on the OU’s website.

animated video kol rom

Megillas Lester–a hilarious film in the Purim Spiel tradition.

Kolrom media, who has produced a lot of music videos and shorts for the Orthodox audience (like the video for the song “Ana Avda” and a hilarious bit on Aish.com called “Sicko” about how NOT to do the mitzvah of visiting the sick), has just released a video about Purim that refers to all the midrashim and commentaries I talked about in my rant. And it’s funny. Although Esther doesn’t make an appearance. Even Mordechai barely shows up.

That’s because “Megillas Lester” is about a boy, Lester, who dreams he has messed up the Purim story so much that Esther doesn’t have a chance to become queen. And Mordechai doesn’t get a chance to save the king. So who will save the Jewish people from Haman’s evil plot? Continue reading

How writing a novel differs from writing a screenplay: my last post on STORY

After reading my earlier posts on STORY, you might think I’m 100% sold on the book. I have to admit that I’m a fan, but I do have some quibbles, largely on the adoption of screenwriting techniques for short story or novel writing.

Differences between writing for readers and for viewers that limit the utility of STORY:

1) (The only one I noticed pointed out by McKee) You may get inside the characters heads and explore their thoughts in literature. This creates a greater intimacy between the narrator and the reader. It also means the conflict can be much more subtle and much more interior.

2) Some readers like descriptive, sensory details that can’t be experienced with film — smell and touch can be better evoked, for example (unless you’re viewing in smell-o-rama).

3) The audience must work harder when reading print–in a good way.

4) When contrasted with other useful literary guides, you see some shortfalls. Continue reading

More about McKee’s STORY: How two of my stories measured up

I’m still reading STORY and have so much to say on its utility that you’ll just have to bear with me for a few more posts on it.

THE GAP

victoria station tube mind the gap

Writer! Mind the gap!

McKee has a theory that the material a story is made of is not words, not paper and pen (or computer) but something he calls the GAP. The Gap develops when a main character acts and discovers that his/her expectations regarding the response s/he’s going to get conflict with the reaction s/he really gets. This discrepancy forces the character to adjust and change.

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Movies vs Books: in theaters 2013

Living in Los Angeles, I’m pretty much surrounded by billboards. About half of these advertise television shows or movies. These billboards are usually lost on me because I neither own a TV nor go to the movies.

And then, there was the trifecta of Fall 2013. Continue reading