Saturday, April 28, 2007

Now people can email me!


Just a quickie, I have figured out finally how to do that thing where you can click on an email link and it sets up everything for you to send me an email. So now you can send me an email! (I know, a dream come true for you all! Look to the right, up a bit . . . up a bit more . . . see, there's the link!)

Um . . . and would someone mind testing it out for me, to make sure I actually did do it right? Maybe you could say that you did in the comments section in case it went wrong so I can fix it. I would appreciate it a lot!
You see I like to pretend I know what I am doing, but really . . .

Anyway, thanks!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Adrienne gets philosophical about Blogging.

There is a new blogger on the scene! You may have noticed her commenting occasionally here. Her name is Dawn Rotarangi, the New Zealand author of the soon-to-be-published Ripples on the Lake.

I came across her blog after helping her out with a blogger query over on Absolute Write. On Thursday she wrote an interesting entry on the world of blogging, how one tests the waters, checks out different blogs and finds the ones that speak to them. She also talked about herself, finding her niche and settling in. And she compared the whole thing to a highschool dance.

And I would like to take this idea and run with it for a bit.

There most definitely is a blogging hierarchy. There are the popular blogs, the ones everyone knows about - ie Perez Hilton. Then there are the popular blogs within a certain niche, in my case I would cite Miss Snark as an excellent example. She is hugely famous in the writing world, anyone who is in this business knows of this lover of George Clooney with her spiky heels and stash of gin (possibly around the neck of her beloved Killer Yap, in much the same way medicine could be found round the neck of a Saint Bernard - well if she hasn't done that I highly suggest that she give it a go).

Then there are the blogs that are like the clubs at school that eat lunch in their respective office or something, blogs where a group of people go around and read each other's blogs and post comments, very insular, but extremely supportive of each other.

And then there are the new blogs, the new kids. Slowly going around and finding their footing, trying on different personalities until they find the gang they most get along with.

But what gets to me about this whole thing, more than this interesting hierarchy, is how young we all are. Miss Snark has been blogging for all of 2 years. That's it. And yet now I can't imagine a world without all these different resources, these different people. Blogs have utterly changed the way the world works. And yet when it comes to media, blogs are like the new kids. I can only wonder where they will go from here.

Anyway, all this came about because a lovely blogging buddy of mine, Pat Wood, and her book Lottery, were totally praised on Miss Snark today, which has inspired no ends of congrats (well deserved of course, and to which I heartily add my own), and I was just thinking about status in the blogging world, and how two or three years ago, this social structure didn't exist at all. And how important, how vital, it has become now.

I get philosophical at times.

So super congrats Pat! (and I thought I would just brag for a moment that I too have an ARC [advanced reader copy] of Lottery. I am totally flattered really to have one, and that's all I'm going to say about it until I finish it, you'll all just have to wait with bated breath).

And welcome again to Dawn!

And yay to blogging! You are so cute and little now, I just have to wonder what you'll be like when you become a gawky teenager. Ah well, I'll deal with your rebellion when the time comes. Now have a lollipop!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A little story

Since I have had such interest from people with the whole acting/auditioning thing, I thought I would share an amusing little story on the glamorous world of acting. Staring me!

So while I was in the UK I had an audition for an independent film. The part I was told was basically one line, an office worker who worked with the main character, who when she attempts to inquire after his well being is cut off mid sentence by someone else.

It took me over an hour to get to the place, and of course I got lost on the way. Then once I got there I had to wait for several minutes before they were ready for me (which is usual). Then I finally get into the audition. The director and the girl who is operating the camera are there, both very friendly, and the director starts to explain the film to me. She explains the story, about what has happened to our main character, and how grief stricken he is. How messed up his family life is, and how messed up he himself is. Then she goes on to explain the scene I will be reading. She explains how I am reading for a character who is genuinely concerned for the MC. And she says how in England people aren't quite that open to talking about those sorts of things and so it is quite something that my character expresses sympathy. Then she says that what she wants me to do with my line is read it, and then when I get interrupted (by the camera woman who was also reading in for the other characters) just to listen and react to the rest of the conversation. The director asks me if I am ready. I say that I am. Action.

Me: "Oh John I'm so sorry for - "

Camera woman interrupts with the rest of the dialogue.

I listen intently.

Pause.

Director stands up and offers me her hand: "Thank you so much for coming in!"


And that is the glamorous world of acting: An hour and a half of build up to perform and incomplete sentence, and you know what, I wouldn't want it any other way!


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

On Commerical Auditions


I have been very lucky lately to have had several auditions in the last few weeks. All for commercials, all quite fun and amusing. And I thought because this was also the actress's blog, and because people might find it interesting (I mean I know I do), I thought I would go through what it is like to do a commercial audition.

Okay.

So first you get the call from your agent. She tells you when and where, and what the commercial is for. She tells you what to wear (office attire, casual, club . . . ). Typically you get the call the day before, even the day of. These sorts of auditions are very last minute, hence actors needing jobs with flexible schedules or an ability to switch shifts, or you know, being a writer at home.

Sometimes you will be sent "sides" which is the script for the audition and you learn your part. But more often for commercials you will be auditioning for a "Silent on Camera" (SOC) role, which means there are no lines to prepare. In film and television this is usually a small nothing part. But you may have noticed how in commercials sometimes a whole ad will go by and the actor won't have said anything. There may be a voice over, or a montage of some kind. So for a commercial an SOC is actually not a bad thing.

The day arrives and you make yourself all pretty and stuff (or ugly, depending on who you are supposed to be). Then you go to the casting. There are different casting houses that run these sessions and you get to become quite familiar with them and the people (though not me yet, I've only just started up again since being in the UK, so I am getting to know Toronto all over again. Though already I have been to the same casting place twice in two weeks).

You get there and sign in. This involves putting down your ACTRA (the film acting union) number etc. Then you fill in a form listing your agent's details, and things like your height and weight. Once you've completed the form, the guy/gal at the desk will take a snapshot of you to pin to the form.

Next you can sit and get yourself ready. Usually there will be a story board of the commercial up on the wall so you can get a sense of what they are going to ask of you. "Girl wakes up. Realises she has bad breath. Is embarrassed . . ." with little pictures that go along with it. Occasionally there may be sides up if the audition requires only a few words.

And then you wait. Sometimes you chat with the others (I do like chatting). Sometimes you read. Sometimes you go through the proofs of your novel *ehem*.

Then they call you in. It may be one at a time, or they may ask you in as a group.

The first thing you do is slate to the camera. Slating is saying your name and agent: "Hi my name is Adrienne Kress, and I'm with McGuin and Associates".

And then they tell you what they want you to do.

You do it.

You may be asked to do it again.

Or not.

And then you are done.

And you sign out.

Ta-da!

So there you have it! Now granted I am just getting into the swing of things, so this is quite generic and based on what I've had to do, and the stories of others. And each audition is different. But this is an idea, a taste.

Now back to those proofs Adrienne!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

One down . . .

I have just finished going through my American proofs.

Now it is onto the UK ones.

I dunno, reading my book over and over again, personally makes me more and more insecure about it. It's seriously tough looking at it with fresh eyes. Okay let's be honest, it's impossible. And when you know each plot development, and really each sentence off by heart, it's hard to get of sense of what the story is like as, well, a story. I know I wrote that post about perfection a few entries ago, but I can't help but wonder at moments like these, do other authors start to feel this way too? Does, for example, Guy Gavriel Kay ever think when re-reading his stuff, "Man, is this any good, I really can't tell anymore"?

How do you guys handle it?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Fun with Statcounter



For those of you who do not have a blog, but I believe that most of you do (and really it is THE thing these days), you may know the joy that is Statcounter.

In brief, Statcounter is a free thingy (yes thingy) that allows you to keep track of who is visiting your blog and how they get there. It's really neat! And addictive! I've had visitors from all over the planet (thank you my visitors from all over the planet), and many return visits as well (thank you my returning visits - your loyalty shall be rewarded . . . in time . . .).

But the bestest bit about Statcounter? "Recent Keyword Activity". When you click on this link in your statcounter you can find what phrases people have googled in order to find you (or to accidentally come across your blog). As such I thought it would be fun to share some of the more unexpected ones.

First of all, there are a lot of 'Adrienne Kress'es. A couple 'Temp, Actress and Writer's. A few 'Alex and the Ironic Gentleman's or the other name with Wigpowder Treasure.

I also get quite a few that read as "What size are actresses" or "Skinny actresses" or "How models stay thin" due to my rant a few months back on Tyra Banks. I get the occasional "Jon Stewart" (sigh I would love to get an actual Jon Stewart). Lisa Clark whom I hosted on her virtual tour gets a few requests. As does "reading aloud".

However then there are the truly unique ones. Like "pricking of my thumb what does this mean", and "how to become a famous actress" (I wish I knew!).

But today my friends, today I got the winner, by far. Ready for it? Ready? Drum roll please . . . .

"What temp do you bake marlin."

And that my friends, makes Statcounter a god among counters of stats!


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So now it is your turn my blogging friends, what are the strangest googles you've had?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The proof is in the . . . proof . . .



Step by step.

I have received my proofs from my American editor (UK ones to arrive sometime next week)! It's so crazy. Just when you think you are getting used to things, something comes out of left field (okay not really left field, more like directly in front of you and you can kind of see it coming at you from miles away [since I have been expecting my proofs] - a bit like when my neighbour at my cottage's dog, Gabe, would charge me from across the two acres that separated our houses . . . ).

So proofs are, for the uninitiated, or just people who don't really know about the publishing world (aka me this time last year), are a print up of how your book will eventually look. It's a stack of manuscript pages, like normal, but in this case they have been formatted (spacing, font etc) how they will look as a final product. So this means title page. And chapter headers. And a lovely lovely font, which I highly approve of but which I would doubt it would matter if I didn't.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, my American version of my book is officially 310 pages long (including acknowledgements).

It is absolutely thrilling to see my proofs. It just drives home the point that this will be a book someday. That it will even look like a real book. It's totally awesome. And, as usual, overwhelming.

(of course now I have to read the whole thing again and look for "egregious errors" . . . )

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In acting news, (this still is a multi purpose blog), I had my first audition through my agent the other day! I finally signed my contract with McGuin and Associates on Tuesday, and then the next day my new agent, Debi, was sending me out! I haven't had such an audition for over a year now (I have had other auditions that I scouted out myself, but it has been almost a year since I came back to Toronto, thus giving up representation in the UK, and the agent hunt, be it for acting or writing, is a long, tricky process.).

At any rate I had a lovely time, and met some nice girls (granted we are all competing for the same role, but I have found for the most part, people are quite nice at auditions because everyone is kind of insecure and really just want to relax a bit). It also just feels nice to be pro-active again.

So in all, it's been a good couple of days!

Hope you are all doing well as well!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Influence.

First of all I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who stopped by to check out the US cover. From the comments I have been receiving, it looks like the cover really gets across my story extremely well. Which is really a huge testament to John Rocco's ability as an artist (can you tell I am in utter awe of the man?) Now I only have to hope the inside lives up to the outside!

Okay onto today's post. Today I wanted to write a bit about my writing influences, and then sort of open it up to discussion. I always love hearing about who inspired people to write, and sometimes it can come from the strangest places.

(The reason that I thought I would talk a bit about this was because I was filling in an author questionnaire for my Canadian publishers, and had to answer that question. I am nothing if not derivative.)

This is what I wrote - ehem:

As far as writing influences go, I would have to cite a few authors. Obviously the authors of the classic kid books, AA Milne, CS Lewis, Lewis Carroll, JM Barrie etc were very important to me. It is pretty evident that my novel owes a lot to Alice in Wonderland, not only in story structure, but also in the way that Lewis Carroll satirized the politics of the time through his characters. I too satirize my life: my obsession with the Lord of the Rings movies behind the scenes documentaries, my temp jobs and having to virtually read the minds of my bosses, my love of classic films and plays and their actors . . .

A Series of Unfortunate Events inspired me to write in Magical Realism.

The Adventure Series by Enid Blyton, though woefully politically incorrect, was a huge favourite of mine growing up and I think really inspired that whole adventure story concept.

And of course the classic nautical films (since I love my movies) of the classic nautical books, Mutiny on the Bounty, and the mini series of the Horatio Hornblower series inspired all the sea faring stuff (along with that classic: Muppet Treasure Island).

But of all the authors out there the one who influenced me the most would have to be Douglas Adams. You see my dad would always read to me before bed, and because he was an English teacher he read me all the classics. Then one night he started reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and it was unlike anything I had ever come across before. It was wacky and different, and played with the rules. Adams saw things from a completely different perspective, and wrote in a very straightforward manner as if everything he was telling us was perfectly normal. I loved the books. And that moment of revelation, of playing with writing as opposed to 'just' writing stayed with me ever since. I would love to be the Douglas Adams for kids. That is of course, reaching way up high above me. But I figure there is no harm in trying.

So there you have it! Now it is your turn. Who and what influences you in your writing, your work in general?

And . . . go!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

My American Cover!

Ta da! After weeks of not being able to share it, finally, may I present to you:




Isn't just beautiful and fabulous! This is the American cover for my book, done by the incredibly talented John Rocco, and you must go visit his site right away to look at his other work because, well trust me, it's worth it. Anyway, I love how Alex (who is supposed to look like a boy, but isn't one) looks like a boy but obviously isn't one. I love the gleam on the sword, the sea and sky behind her. My little old ladies look so awesome, and my two gents genuinely creepy.

I am super excited about the whole thing. Of course best of all is just seeing my name at the bottom of everything. That just totally blows my mind.


I am still eagerly awaiting the UK cover, for which I have seen some really cool sketches, and am really excited about it because it looks like the artist will be drawing a whole host of characters (I've always felt that the book was more about the people Alex meets on the way than the actual story). So stay tuned . . .


(. . . seriously, isn't it just so cool!)