Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The art of self publishing...

I just came across this New York Times article about self-publishing. Less than two weeks ago, I self published my first novel, aptly titled The Age of Me. With shipping and handling, it cost me $15 to print one copy of this 300 page work of literary genius. This book is still not ready for widespread publication, as I must seriously edit its content (it was written 1.5 years ago when I was half the writer I am today...and twice as humble too), but I soon intend to continue using the self-publishing apparatus to build a following. The main difference between most self-publishers and me is that I am a writer by trade, whereas many people are writing their book for one occasion and one person (themselves). Thus, my plan is to use my self-published work to attract the attention of literary agents and publishers, while most self-publishers view the publication of their work as the end of their creative process.

Though The Age of Me isn't ready yet, I recently started selling my epic documentary film, Ain't Easy Being Green (about the ever-so-corrupt 2006 Pennsylvania Senate race) on Amazon using their partner site, Createspace. This site was very simple to use and within a few weeks, my film was ready to be sold. Traditionally, filmmakers collect only 10-15% of the sale price of an item when it's sold through a distributor, but this number soars to more than 55% when self-published. Thus, when self-publishing, one needs to sell five times fewer units to make a comparable profit. Something about cutting out the middle man feels lovely, especially in the case of Ain't Easy, a film whose very theme is to create change using nontraditional methods.

Viva La Self-Publishing Revolution!

Friday, January 23, 2009

My thoughts on the Oscar nods...

I have some major criticism of this year's Oscar nominees, or rather the people who selected them.

Here are my thoughts:

1. As a political film buff, I think Frost/Nixon was disappointing. It was not Ron Howard's best work, and I thought it lacked suspense and drama. It does NOT deserve a Best Picture nod. Frank Langella does deserve his Best Actor nomination, but that's about it for this flick...

2. The same goes for Milk. The plot was sub-par, especially during the repetitive first half of this movie. This should NOT have been nominated for Best Picture or Best Original Screenplay when a future classic like Woody Allen's Vicky Christina Barcelona, which is written with much more originality, was far better. Sean Penn definitely deserves his nomination for Best Actor, but that's it for this one.

3. The Best Animation category is silly. Wall-E should DESTROY the competition. Perhaps it should have been nominated for Best Picture rather then Best Animated Flick...

4. Javier Bardem deserves to be nominated for SOMETHING for Vicky Christina Barcelona.

5. The Dark Knight should have been nominated for Best Picture. Yup!

6. In a typical year, Phillip Seymour Hoffman should easily win the Best Supporting Actor award for Doubt, but he won't this year because Heath Ledger is competing against him. Hoffman should have been placed in the Best Actor category as his role was more than just "supporting."

7. After taking tremendous risks by filming on the streets of India, my boy Danny Boyle BETTER win Best Director.

8. Happy-Go-Lucky was a great film...why was it only nominated for one award? Sally Hawkins deserves a Best Actress nomination.

A very well written op-ed, considering he's a dictator...

As I was scrolling through some New York Times op-ed pieces, I was surprised to see one written by Muammar Qaddafi, the Libyan "leader" (read: dictator) who was shunned as a terrorist by America for many years only to have diplomatic relations become more normalized within the past few years. While Qaddafi's ideas are articulated with good logic in this piece, I disagree with his view that the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts can be resolved by creating a one-state solution. My fear is that if a one-state solution ever comes to be, radical Islamists will do everything they can do destroy the Jews who live in the region.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009