Poetic Justice

My award-winning student film, in which a team of heroic poets tackle the Grammar Nazi menace.


Poetic Justice Poster

In December 2012, all the world’s a stage.

The first poster for my action poet film, Poetic Justice. From left to right, we have Emily, Charlotte, and Anne Bronte; Will Shakespeare, the team leader; Robert Frost, the muscleman; Emily Dickinson, the female; and Edgar Allen Poe, the emo one.

Storyboard Glimpse

A snippet of the storyboard for my upcoming “action hero poets” student film, Poetic Justice. Here, the villainous Strunk and his Grammar Nazi minions are about to receive a visit from the poet team. The storyboard is the much-appreciated work of my friend Nimphaiwe. Tentative release date for the film: December 2012.

The "guy getting pulled back into the woods" stunt is going to be a tricky one...

Looks like Strunk needs to spellcheck himself before he wrecks himself.

Character Twist: the classier plot twist

The Master Cleanse is a 15-minute dramedy created, according to the makers themselves, “to see if we could make a short and strip away all of our tricks, no action, no chase scenes, no fancy angles, or violence, and see if two people talking about universal relationship problems could be as compelling as an all girls high octane pillow fight.”

And it is a fun film, mostly because there’s a clever twist at the end. The plot twist hinges on a reveal about the main characters’ relationship, and is an example of something that I’ve been wondering about for a while: how can character development be subjected to the same boost of whizz-bang fun that a properly designed plot twist gives to a plot? As a writer, my weakest subject is character development, and my strongest subject is plot. My neverending quest, therefore, is a search to discover ways to make my characters as interesting as my plots.

The Master Cleanse provides an example of the classic character twist. This post will deconstruct the twist in depth, so I’ll hide the rest of the text in case you feel like watching the short film sans spoilers. (There’s crass language and an intentionally unappealing sex scene, if you need any incentive to keep reading without seeing the film)

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Broccoli Planet (Short Film)

Zach and I wrote, filmed and finished most of the editing for this film last Saturday. If anything isn’t as stellar as you expect in such an intergalactic story, I blame it on the speed we worked with. The short is on the same type of camera that we’ll use to film Poetic Justice, and gave me a chance to see how the basics — lighting, sound, and angles — are used. I don’t have much experience with it. In the end, it was easier than I thought it would be, although I didn’t anticipate the amount of broccoli that I’d get mushed into my hair.

I think this one has a bit of rewatch value, due to touches like the broccoli I pull out of an unlikely spot at 1:48 or the sweet camera angle that we start with. Zach’s a lot better at thinking of good angles to shoot from than I am… he noticed the ceiling fan that we used for the opening shot, and also propped the camera up on an opened door in order to get the wide shot of us eating.

Fun fact: we used broccoli to steady the camera half the time. That stuff really does have a million uses.