Robert Gillen

the magic of storytelling

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Shooting the Off-Road Desert Race

I’m working on creating an exciting cover for the first book, “Off-Road,” in the YA series. In the meantime, here’s a picture of the camera Tessa uses in shooting the off-road desert race, the fictional Cactus 100.

She inherited the camera from her brother Ryder. He used it in his years at NYU’s film school. It’s a Panasonic HVX. The earlier version of this camera, the DVX,  was popular with indie filmmakers before the explosion of digital camera choices now available.

shooting the off-road desert race with a Panasonic HVX camera

Panasonic AG-HVX200

High School Journalists Report the Truth

Using investigative skills, high school journalists report the truth. The teens attend Pittsburg High School in Pittsburg, Kansas. What started as an assignment to do a profile on their newly-hired principal led to a thorough investigation which in turn led to the principal resigning.

teen journalist report the truth

Teen journalists Credit: Emily Smith, Pittsburg HS

According to The New York Times, “Maddie Baden, a 17-year-old junior and a staff member of the student-run newspaper The Booster Redux, set out to write a profile. Emily Smith, a teacher and adviser to The Redux, said… that she had not expected the reporting to lead to questions about [the principal’s] credentials.”

As the teens dug deeper into the story, they found enough information to question the truth of the principal’s alleged educational credentials.

Here’s an example of teens pursuing the truth, not taking statements at face value, and working with school officials to resolve issues. Nicely done, Gina Mathew, Kali Poenitske, Maddie Baden, Trina Paul, Connor Balthazor and Patrick Sullivan. You make us proud.

Read the full story here.

 

Creating a Community of Characters

creating a community of charactersOne of the joys of writing for me is creating a community of characters. Something like putting a band together. And I can thank several writers for teaching me how to do this. Author Elizabeth George, in her Write Away, recommends developing profiles on your characters before beginning to write your story. “Story is character and not just idea.” She says of character: “Give them flaws, allow them to doubt themselves about something, see to it that they grow and change, and make certain you are putting them into conflict.”

I thank teacher and writer Josh Adell for introducing me to The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri. Says Egri, “Character is the fundamental material we are forced to work with, so we must know character as thoroughly as possible.”

creating a community of charactersBoth authors recommend writing about your characters for as long as it takes to know them intimately and deeply. For me, I now have about 60,000 words and over 100 pages on character profiles. They represent three or four different stories at this point, but may all meld into one series as I progress. Some characters loom large. Others are minor, with brief descriptions so far. But all of them are distinct, individual, interesting.

My most recent – Maddy Dela Riva. A high school junior, challenged by physical limitations, strong in her determination and courage,   maybe a bit cocky, yet insecure in moments of introspection. I look forward to working her into the Film Crew series I’m working on. Maddy came to me the other day, and within hours she was crying out to be part of the story. She has all but forced her way into the series.

More to come…

Create No Hate

Irish teen Luke Culhane has been named Limerick’s Person of the Year.  Culhane won the 2016 award for his video Create No Hate. The YouTube video urges teens to stand up to online bullying. Stop, block, tell is his mantra. Culhane, himself a victim of bullying, has created a powerful message. Check out his video.

 

Off-Road: A Film Crew Adventure

Coming soon. I am close to finishing the last edit on the opening story in my Young Adult Film Crew series, titled: Off-Road: A Film Crew Adventure.

Off-road

Off-road

High school junior Tessa Warren and her friends Lyndie Reed and Eric Vargas set out to film the Cactus 100 off-road race in California’s Mojave Desert. They want to enter the documentary in local youth film festivals. But environmental protestors, out to shut down the race, target Tessa and her friends with a mis-directed hostility that endangers them and their project.

The stories will be short reads posted to Kindle and other websites.

Look for the Film Crew this spring.

 

The Magic of Story

Welcome to my author blog. My heroes are storytellers. Writers, filmmakers, poets, photographers, artists. The magic of story.

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