Updates Writing

I Won First Place in a Screenwriting Contest

Chalk up a win.

My horror-thriller screenplay “Dead North” set in apocalyptic Northern Canada just took first place at the WILDsound Screenplay Festival for Horror (part of the Feedback Toronto Film Festival). As a prize, Dead North earned a live-recorded table read.

I even got a little interview published on their site:

Horror/Zombie Feature Screenplay – DEAD NORTH by Alexander Nachaj

The director and actors certainly interpreted things differently than I had in mind. There’s a definite “Guardians of the Galaxy” vibe to it. Of course, when has anyone ever interpreted something the same way we heard it play out in our heads?

In film, everyone brings a little something to the table. Writer, director and actor together create the character, and leads to some interesting fusions.

A big thanks to the judges at the festival for their feedback, the crew putting the table read together, along with the actors and director for lending their talent.

2016 has been off to a good year!

Books Opinions Updates

Books I Read in 2015

Gibson – Count Zero
Bram Stoker – Lair of the White Worm
Crichton – Pirate Latitudes
Demello – Body Studies
Bradbury – Farenheit 451
Jeffrey Archer – A Prisoner of Birth
Jeffrey Archer – Kane and Abel
Orsi – Thank you St Jude
Acker – Empire of the Senseless
Durham – Bible Adventures
Rugoff – Marco Polo
Thomas Fleming – Siege of Yorktown
Anne Archer – Henry VIII
Andrist – Jackson
Bell – Baldur’s Gate II
Landsdale – Drive in
Landsdale – Cold in July
Landsdale – Bubba Hotep
Martin – Clash of Kings
Martin – Dance with Dragons
Martin – The Hedge Knight
Martin – The Sworn Sword
Martin – The Mystery Knight
Kimmel – Manhood in America
Arnold – What is Masculinity
Connell – Masculinities
Mankell – Before the Frost
Wilson – Unmanley Men
Sakuraza – All you Need is Kill
King – Salem’s Lot
King – It
Gilbert – Men in the Middle
Moss – Media and the Modes of Masculinity
Brunner – The Stardroppers
Murakami – South of the Border, West of the Sun
Blatty – The Exorcist

This year I read 36 book – a dip down from previous years, and just a few tomes short of my personal goal to complete 40 books each year.

I did end up reading several much longer books than anticipated (such as It), which slowed my pace down, but probably balanced out by all the non-fiction I read and could tear through in under a week without breaking a sweat.

As well, for the first time, I spent a good deal of my reading energy focusing on my studies and research interests (every title on the list that has to do with America, media and masculinities).

Several books were re-reads from previous years (such as Gibson and Bradbury). I also revisited two of Martin’s ASOIAF books, an inevitable aftermath after each season of Game of Thrones ends and my hunger for fan theories returns in full force. I also completed the Hedge Knight trilogy, which I had previously written off in the back of my head as some form of spin-off nonsense. In the end, I really enjoyed them for their simplicity and more conventional story telling.

If I had to consider a “best of” and worst of” list for this year, Lair of the White Worm easily takes the bottom. An uninspired, meandering sloth of suspicious bromance, penis jokes and some silly plot about a giant evil worm. It put a whole new spin on the concept of a “Bram Stoker fan” – if indeed there actually are any. After reading this, it almost seemed a fluke that Dracula became so influential.

On the best of, I would have to put both Archer and Landsdale up on there. This was the first time I had read works by either of them, and greatly enjoyed both. Archer (Jeffrey) writes in such a simple, straightforward yet captivating manner. His prose are neat and minimal, allowing the tension and confrontations between characters to be the main focus of his novels. Landsdale’s sarcastic, darkly humorous prose also reeled me in.

Books Opinions Updates

Let’s stir up some memories: it’s moving season

Moving is an interesting experience.

In all the things we do, it’s fairly unique. The feeling it instills in us – or myself, at least – is also fairly different in that it’s a bit of a blending of emotions.

Moving is somehow depressing, joyful and nostalgic all at once. Maybe catharsis could be the closest single emotion it builds up in you and then lets out.

It’s like we take a big stick and stir up all those memories which have lain dormant on our shelves, in boxes, at the back of drawers all this time. Most of them we had forgotten about, others recollected but only from time to time. Then, suddenly, when we find ourselves moving they all come briefly back to life.

Some of them are that hoarder in all of us, finally being confronted, dragged out from under the bed and tossed into the light. Do I really need three pairs of old jeans I can safely work outdoors in? Why are there so many opened boxes of pens lying around? Did I really buy a Lily Allen album for $3? There are more shoes than I know what to do with.

Jars of tea, with the price tag still on them. The tea gone stale and more faded than the labels. I haven’t drank more than a few cups in five years. Coffee converted me long ago.

Books I read many summers ago bring back memories of front porches and sunny days. The smell of cut grass and a cool breeze signaling an early autumn creeping in. The feeling of the pages beneath my fingers as I turn them and fight the wind to keep my place.

That cookie jar that currently holds my spare change, silver pieces worth no more than 25 cents, though usually less, take up the space where once cookies sat cluttered, given to me one holiday season some thousand years ago. I don’t remember if I enjoyed the cookies, but I remember the name of the baker.

Notebooks, notebooks and notebooks – those are the most common. I seem to own more notebooks that I do undershirts. Most of them half-filled with my sprawling chicken scratch.

Rules for board games, memos and lists, words that once lined up in a phrase sounded next-to-words.

There were notes from school, notes from courses I took on my own, sheet music I had written for guitar, story ideas, plot points, red pen notations that I took while over the phone with some client or another.

So many words, so much written that I hardly recall the half of it, even when reading it. Most of it could have been written in another life for all I know, by some other person with a similar shorthand, at some other place in their studies or career.

Sometimes I know the man behind the words, other times it’s simply a mystery.