Fifty Shades Of Whatever – Artist Edition

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Today I found this in the art supply store:

Six Shades Of Grey. © Ines Häufler, 2015

Six Shades Of Grey. © Ines Häufler, 2015

Of yourse I had to post it on Facebook. And in the comments, me and my friends invented the “Fifty Shades of Grey Artist Edition”, being bought in sizes S, M and L (or B, D, S and M – whatever your preferences are) at art supply stores.

Fifty Shades Of Grey - Artist Edition © Ines Häufler, 2015

Fifty Shades Of Grey – Artist Edition © Ines Häufler, 2015 (Bild anklicken > größer.)

And now please excuse me, I have to call the marketing departments of Boesner and Gerstaecker (our local art supply stores here in Vienna) to negotiate my commission.

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InesFifty Shades Of Whatever – Artist Edition

36 Questions To Get To Know Each Other Better. Or: How To fall In Love With Your Characters

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At the moment there is a lot of fuzz on the internet about a social experiment. The question is: can you fall in love with anybody, if you spend time together, answer 36 questions and look into each others eyes for 4 minutes in the end?

The answer is: Yes, it works. If you are interested in the scientific facts, download the PDF of the study.

I did not research the details of why it works, but it is quite obvious to me that one has to open up when answering these 36 questions. They are very personal, and you make yourself vunerable. You have to develop some trust (and thus most likely also affection) for the other person. And I also remembered a recent study on people who are against gay marriage. The scientists made them talk to gay people. How long would it take to smash their beliefs on gay marriage? 20 minutes. Yay to talking and listening to each other!

36 ways to find a lover, © Ines Häufler 2015

36 ways to find a lover, © Ines Häufler 2015

But when do I go on such a date with the characters of my stories? There is one exercise I frequently use with writers, when I find out that they do not know enough about their characters and their motivations, which always results in stereotypes and shallow characters.

It goes like this: Let the character chose a place he or she really likes. Meet them there. Get them their favorite drinks, let them talk, ask them questions, and listen carefully to what they say and how they say it. Keep in mind that – as in real life – characters tend to lie. Especially in the beginning of a date almost no one says the truth – why would you lower your guard immediately? It is a date, you do not want to get hurt right away. So listen carefully what your character tells you between the lines, and ask questions like “Oh, this is an interesting point of view. Why is this so important to you?” The question Why? is the magic bullet for developing characters. If you ask Why? about five times in a row, chances are you hit the truth of someones real emotional motivations, traumatas, fears and passions.

A fictional talk like this can be about a specific topic. But if you are at the very beginning of the story development, it might be better to use all 36 questions from the experiment.

I have chosen some questions that might be most helpul for this excercise. It was quite hard, because actually all questions are very interesting. So please have a look at the full list and use all of them, or chose the ones that suit the stage of your character development best.

Nevertheless, here are some of my favorites:

  • What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
  • If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
  • Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
  • If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
  • Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
  • What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
  • What is your most treasured memory?
  • What is your most terrible memory?
  • If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
  • What does friendship mean to you?
  • How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?
  • Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.
  • When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
  • What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
  • Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?

Now it is your turn: What are your favorite exercises to get to know the characters of your stories? I am eager to read your comments!

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Ines36 Questions To Get To Know Each Other Better. Or: How To fall In Love With Your Characters

“We have to go back!” – 10 Years Of LOST

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First I thought “WTF?!”, and then “Wow, this is genius!”, and then I watched the end of the third season of LOST again.

That one single sentence – “We have to go back!” – twist my mind in such a way, was something I had never seen in a tv series before. Well, after that there was something called “The Red Wedding”, but there it also was the brutality of the execution of the plot twist, that made it stand out. With LOST they only needed one sentence.

Though I still hate the end of the last season (or the whole last season to be honest) of LOST, it has been an experience that I never had since. Except from a few Game Of Thrones moments.

And because we are celebrating 10 years since LOST first aired, here is a (sloppy) video from this year’s Comic Con.

But now for a real walk down the memory lane: 5 great scenes from LOST.

Ok, you git me. I also “want to go back”: You find me at my DVD shelf. And where did I put these wine labels…?

LOST - ©Ines Häufler

LOST – ©Ines Häufler

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Ines“We have to go back!” – 10 Years Of LOST

Trailerwatch: 12 MONKEYS – The Series

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A video night with friends. We are standing in the kitchen and drawing a timeline of 12 MONKEYS on the kitchen wall, trying to understand the time travel and discovering a plot hole. But my personal highlight of this evening was seeing LA JETEÉ by Chris Marker for the first time. There are not many films that have fascinated me in this way for such a long time.

12 MONKEYS is an adaptation of LA JETEÉ, which shows more in the plot than in the look and feel. Now another layer is added – there will be a tv series adaptation of the big screen adaptation of LA JETEÉ.

I have to admit that I do not really like this trailer, though I like time travel entertainment. So I guess, I’d rather watch the Original again and browse through LA JETEÉ: ciné-roman.

Chris Marker: La Jeteé. Ciné-roman.

Chris Marker: La Jeteé. Ciné-roma

 

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InesTrailerwatch: 12 MONKEYS – The Series

From Scriptalicious to ineshaeufler.com

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In February 2008 my first professional script consulting website went online – Scriptalicious.at. Now, almost 7 years later, things have changed.

First, creativity stepped into my life, and I wrote the book TALKING COOKIES. And during the last months more and more companies approached me because they are interested about storytelling and emotional marketing for their products. I am not only Ines Häufler, the script consultant, but also Ines Häufler, the author and Ines Häufler, expert for emotional marketing.

So this means maintaining three websites and blogs, right? Phew, that sounds way too exhausting. But wait a second: No matter if I am the author, the story consultant or the marketing expert – it will always be me getting in touch with someone to find and create stories.

This is why I launched www.ineshaeufler.com. The blog will be about storytelling, marketing, film and creativity.

But now it is time for a huge THANK YOU to Isabella Kohout, who did the photographs for the websites and together with Tobias Zarfl the screendesign and programming. Check out Isabella’s website and also her beautiful Tumblr. And here you can find Tobias’ work. Thanks for helping me with difficult decisions, for your creativity and the great collaboration. You rock!

And to you, my readers: Have fun browsing through my blog. There is an archive of all my blog entries from 2011 up to now online here in the blog section. I am eager to read your comments and hear your feedback for my new website!

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InesFrom Scriptalicious to ineshaeufler.com

What is a scene?

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One of my script consulting teachers, Don Bohlinger, professor at the USC film department, taught me this:

“Each scene is either a chase or an escape.”

It is not only true for scenes with actual chases in action movies, but for basically every scene with more than one characters in it, and it is even true for scenes with a single character who has an inner conflict.

Today I found this quote by screenwriter and director Mike Nichols:

“Every scene is either a fight, a seduction, or a negotiation.” (source)

This also seems to be a good way to look at the scenes you write or analyze, especially if you check your draft before doing a major rewrite or prepare notes for a script meeting.

Questions you might want to ask:

  • Does each scene have a conflict?
  • What is this conflict about?
  • If it is more than one person: Who has a high status, who has the low status?
  • Who is chasing/seducing/fighting whom and why?
  • Who is trying to escape and why?
  • And do the characters switch status during the scene( which I personally always find interesting)?

 

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InesWhat is a scene?

Why Do You Write Strong Female Characters?

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Recently I had a discussion with a guy. He thought it was not important to “gender” the German language according to male/female expressions. (Maybe this is hard to comprehend in English, so here is an explanation).

Anyways, the guy said it is all about mutual respect. While I consider this important as well, I still think that we should use language in a respectful way, because in my opinion language is an image of real life. But though this post is not about gender-relevant language, the discussion with that guy reminded me of something else.

A friend of mine, Nicola von Leffern, recently emailed me the link to a speech by Joss Whedon. I already knew it, but I had never shared it here on my blog. It is about the question why he writes strong female characters. From min. 6:25 it gets really interesting.

And it also reminded me on this interview with George R.R. Martin, author of GAME OF THRONES:

Thank you for your attention.

p.s.: For everyone living in Vienna: From Nov.22nd to 24th there is a seminar at the Drehbcuhforum about Focus On Characters – Writing the Heroine’s Story with Helen Jacey. Join in!

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InesWhy Do You Write Strong Female Characters?

A Childhood Movie

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Bastian’s Father: I got a call from your math teacher, yesterday. She says that you were drawing horses in your math book.
Bastian: Unicorns. They were unicorns.
Bastian’s Father: What?
Bastian: Nothing.

When “The Neverending Story” hit the movie theaters, I was almost 12 years old. I saw the movie several times and read everything I could get hold of. In the end I knew the end credits by heart as well as the soundtrack. By the way, who remembers the theme song by Limahl? Join in! “Neverending Stoooo-ho-ryyyy – ahahaa ahahaa ahahaaaaa”.

Many years later it got really interesting. Because I asked myself what had drawn me to this movie when I was a kid. And I found out that it was not the hero, Atreju, though I had his poster hanging above my bed and I cried every time I saw his horse Artax dying in the Swamps Of Sadness.

In the meantime I am quite sure that I identified with Bastian, the anti-hero. The kid who read as many books as I did when I was a child. The kid who always wanted to be part of the stories, but did not have the courage to be strong in real life. The kid who was told to have both feet on the ground. The kid who excelled himself when he could influence the stories in his book. This was the emotional theme through which I could connect to the story.

It is really interesting what you find when you think back to your childhood movies as an adult.

And what are your childhood movies telling you about your grown-up self?

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InesA Childhood Movie

SOURCES 2: Lectures

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At the Sources 2 workshop I attended in October, Michael Seeber held a wonderful lecture about keeping your ego out of the mentoring process (at least this was the core of the speech in my opinion).

Michael Seeber, ©Sources2

The title was “Yang-Shan Meets San-Cheng Or The Art Of Mentoring”. You can download it here, next to a lot of other interesting lectures from the Sources 2 workshops of the last years.

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InesSOURCES 2: Lectures