NEWS!

My latest novel And The Wheels Fell Off!  has been shortlisted for the 2013 International 3-Day Novel prize!

Check out the link:

http://www.3daynovel.com/2014/03/28/shortlist-announced-and-new-look/

Congratulations to the other nine shortlisted authors. I’m proud to be among you.

Further news to follow!

 

 

No Fiction

There is no fiction. In order to write a compelling story one has to imbue it with life. The story has to have movement, direction, and feel. Warmth. If it doesn’t have those things, the story will be stillborn. Dead. It will go nowhere and do nothing. If the story has life, direction and warmth, if the story has feel, it is alive. It’s real. Not fiction.           

I’ve been neglecting this blog for some time. I’ve been doing my schoolwork. And making a movie. The movie is an independent feature written and directed by Maureen Bradley. I’m in the lighting department. G&E Swing. I do electrics, answer to the Gaffer and sometimes the Key Grip, and I drive the gaffer truck. I’ve also sourced one of the locations and provided both my 1970 Ducati motorcycle and a dead ringer for the lead as stunt double to ride the thing. It’s fun on the set, hard work, long hours, lots of food. Eleven days into the shoot and I’ve lost nine pounds. I back the truck into my driveway, stumble through the front door and into my bed and wake to my i-phone alarm at 4:50 am to do it again. It’s snowing and I don’t like the cold but the horizontal rain has let up. Most of our shoots require that I be outside with the lights and scrims and frames and sticks and 250 or 216 diffusion and ¼ straw or ½ blue gels. That’s after getting the generator ground plate buried and 300’ of Joy cable run from the transformer to the HMI ballasts and the 4K Fresnel heads and get the c47s clipped to the barn doors before the DoP is ready for a camera rehearsal. So it’s fun. Interesting, challenging, tiring, and fun. I’m afraid I’m not involved in the creative end of things this time ‘round, but it’s good to see the other side- the mechanics of making a film- first hand. 

Movies are real too. Actors, crew, businesspeople, lots and lots of money. Don’t kid yourself: The story is real, not fiction. Regardless of the plot on the screen.

Two 4 One

Two 4 One

I’m very excited about the upcoming February shoot of Maureen Bradley’s next great feature film TWO 4 ONE. You’ve heard about it on CBC, read about it online, and very soon, I’m going to help (Assistant lighting director, Grip) Maureen bring it to life. Check out the link. Here’s a pic of Maureen and me clowning around…

file://localhost/Users/sheldonseigel/Desktop/shel%20and%20Maureen%20bradley%20pic.jpg

News for the film: ‘Til Death… and more!

It seems I’m putting up more news than fiction, but it is what it is.  The film I worked on last year and of which I am very proud has had some public breakthroughs as of late.  It is premiering at the Vancouver Short Film Festival and screening at the Whistler Film Festival this fall. This is very exciting for Maureen Bradley (producer) and Connor Gaston (director) as well as the whole crew of the fantastic short. Here are some links to whet your appetite:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7995iuK4-E4   

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/til-death/x/1176821

Of course you could also click on the upper bar “the making of…” on this blog (look up). I’m credited as Casting Director, Foley Artist, and Key Grip (chief lighting guy) and listed on IMDB- which thrills me.

I’m also delighted to say that I’ll be working on a feature film in the spring too- and perhaps a web series, I’ve finished my new play- Boys Cruise, and I’m ready to start final production and layout of a short graphic novel- Man in a Pinstripe Suit, commissioned (essentially) by the uber-talented multi-media artist and novelist Lee Henderson (The Man Game)  Very exciting times. Now, back to fiction… 

Last Fall: A short review of my play by a noted and well-respected actor

How many ways can you say ‘existential’?  Sheldon delivers an amazingly haunting play in the style of J. P. Sartre (No Exit) and S. Hoselton (Clouds). Two strangers trapped in a dilemma from which there is no escape; only certain death. And yet there is a form of salvation and even comfort as the strangers come to understand and accept their realities and consequently their fates.  But the point is nobody gets out of here alive.  ‘Here’ happens to be a residential garage; probably in the suburbs.  

            Very smart props including a portable engine, steering wheel and bucket seats with shabby fabrics. Upholstery is big in this play!  

            This is a very clever, well produced play.  Great blocking, skilled and carefully measured pacing, economical and efficient sets, sparse and effective props. The dialogue is compelling and you should see these young actors deliver.

 

Joseph A. Calenda, MCIP (Rtd), DTM

The Frying Pan into the Fire

I used to be a lawyer, heard the jokes. Nobody cared that I worked like a dog, earned a decent salary to pay my mortgage, made the right decisions, and spent a third of my time doing pro bono work for clients who would never be able to pay me. When I went to a cocktail party or joined my friends for coffee I had to endure the brunt of the latest lawyer joke, became the unintentional good-natured embodiment of the bottom-dwelling-scum-sucker.

Then I became a writer. Writers are a generous lot, empathetic and inclusive. We share writing contest URLs, support each others’ work, and voluntarily submit our darlings to peer criticism in the interest of intellectual growth and critical improvement. Foregoing most reasonable expectations of monetary return, we put ourselves out there to explore the breadth and depth of human experience and hope that we’ll find ourselves at the near edge of something important, something new.

I enrolled in university, entered the fine arts (writing) program with students three decades my junior exactly thirty years after graduating from law school. I diligently attend all of my classes, complete my homework assignments and do my required readings, participate in workshops, and generously critique the work of my peers. I keep up with a half-dozen literary journals, critically analyze the bi-monthly submissions of The New Yorker Magazine, discuss the latest critical writing in Harper’s and The Economist, and read a novel a week. Learning.

It all sounds very haughty and honourable until someone asks what I do. “Oh, that’s so cool,” is the most common reply, followed immediately by “I’m thinking of writing a book too.” And there’s the rub. I’m thinking of writing a book too. And often when they retire. It’s an appealing picture, rocking away on the front porch, looking out at a calm sea, with a quill in hand. Anyone can do it. Just words. You earn the right by living to a certain age, acquire the skill by simply being alive long enough. Spend your days poking around in someone’s mouth filling cavities and analyzing decaying enamel and you’ve earned the right to put your thoughts on paper and sell ten thousand copies to an adoring fan base. I get it, I really do.

There was a day, not so many generations ago when a person aspired to a single career, one that would take her from teen through old age without a break, without so much as a moment of doubt. Those days are long gone, replaced by a new reality- that we’ll each pass through numerous occupations and aspirations, dictated by a rapidly changing world as much as an enlarged perception of our individual impact on the universe. And I think this is a wonderful thing, an opportunity to stretch one’s wings and fly through one’s life with a level of diversity and engagement never before possible. I endorse the new, the adventurous, the far reaching. As a matter of fact, I’m thinking that when I retire from the writing life, I might take up dentistry. Set up a comfy chair on the porch, put on some Charlie Mingus, and dive into those nasty cavities with some modeling clay and a glue stick. The line starts from the left.

 

LAST FALL production announcement

For those of you who call Victoria home:

LAST FALL opens for an exclusive three night run this Wednesday (Oct 16 thru 18, 2013) at the Phoenix Theatre on Ring Road. As the writer, I’m quivering with anticipation at seeing my characters come to life. The director, dramaturge, set design team, and stage manager have outdone themselves. The actors are simply amazing. If the rehearsals I’ve seen are any indication of the final product, the performances will be stellar.  Congratulations all. Be brave! Be bold! And break a leg (each)!