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Posts published in June 2008

What Lies Ahead

‘Been Thinkin’ ‘Bout the Future…
‘Been lying on my bed awake all night, really.
Sometimes I’m that obsessed.
I was thinking of “what happens next”.
All my life I always planned goals and paths to acheive those goals (no, I’m not a character). Well in reality those goals were only steps to a bigger goal: “The World Wide Jump” (WWJ) of 2010, where Heaven (or is it Hell’A?) and Earth collide. Yeah it’s 2 years away, but a one-way trip from Paris to L.A. is one hell of a ride…
I basically gave myself two options. Either get into graduate school (USC or UCLA for example) or if I don’t get in, do the WWJ, although it will seem even wider.
Option two is basically gonna happen one way or the other, just that with option one the transition will be smoother. That and I’ll have friends (hopefully) in L.A.
Also there’s this “visa” problem I keep hearing about…
Anyhow, in order for either options to happen, several other goals need to also happen.
This fall I’m going to visit both schools and also take the Graduate Record Exam. If I fail at the latter I can always retake it around February 2009. Also in February ’09 I’ll pass the TOEFL exam, and in the summer should complete all my application requirements, which are comprised of numerous things that go from the basics (transcripts, recommendation letters) to the not-so-basic (essays, “creative challenges”).
Parallel to all this I have to get all my visa work going. For instance the 2010 Green Card lottery is this fall and I have to start praying. In case that doesn’t fall through, I have to prepare to alternatives, which are, let’s say, pretty complicated to get.

But why am I rumbling on about all this now?
Well it is merely intended to point out what purpose this blog will hopefully achieve. That is to help other struggling (international) writers out there in their daily, and not-so-daily problems. Additionally, I hope my trial and errors, like in the immigration department, will help show that nothing is impossible when you pour your heart and soul into it.

(copyrighted) Music to my ears

I’ve got this problem, well it’s not really a problem. More like a catch-22. Anyway, I’ve got this short film I wrote and directed where reality TV is mocked. Half the short is basically this clichéd clip show of the “greatest moments” of the program. For a clichéd clip show I obviously needed music that reinforced the ridicule of the situation. I was out of time (it was actually a school project) and didn’t think twice to use copyrighted music. Indeed, the crappy commercial music suited perfectly the short.
So here we are now.
I would like to send this movie to festivals but for obvious copyright issues I can’t. I faxed several request (8 in totals) to publishers and labels and stuff, only one got back to me so far: I had to pay between 250 to 500 dollars to use a 20-second background music (not even the crappy commercial one)! I should also point out the fact that this short is strictly non-commercial, and had/has a zero-dollar budget behind it.
This leads me to either:
a) wait for the other requests to come through and miraculously be free
b) send the short to festivals despite not having the copyrighted rights to the music
c) find copyright-free music

Ultimately I went with c).
I came across this great site where there are tons of music from around the world under creative commons, which means (depending on the group) you can freely use the music as long as you credit the artist.
This site is Jamendo. It’s awesome.
One problem though.
I’m looking for crappy commercial music, and I can’t seem to really find it over at this indy site.
It’s been weeks now since I’ve tried to replace the copyrighted songs. Replacements has yet to be found.

Oh and the songs I’m talking about are:
Coldplay’s The Scientist©
Fergie’s Finally©
(the crappy commercial music bash was actually towards Finally, not The Scientist)

In other news, Ken Levine just posted a great post about “why writers direct”.