at www.RARWRITER.com      

--------------------"The best source on the web for what's real in arts and entertainment" ---------------------------

Volume 1-2016






Use this link to add your email address to the RARWRITER Publishing Group mailing list for updates on activities associated with the Creative Culture and Revolution Culture journals, and other RARWRITER Publishing Group interests.


ABOUT RAR: For those of you new to this site, "RAR" is Rick Alan Rice, the publisher of the RARWRITER Publishing Group websites. Use this link to visit the RAR music page, which features original music compositions and other.

Use this link to visit Rick Alan Rice's publications page, which features excerpts from novels and other.


(Click here)

Currently on RARadio:

"On to the Next One" by Jacqueline Van Bierk

"I See You Tiger" by Via Tania

"Lost the Plot" by Amoureux"

Bright Eyes, Black Soul" by The Lovers Key

"Cool Thing" by Sassparilla

"These Halls I Dwell" by Michael Butler

"St. Francis"by Tom Russell & Gretchen Peters, performance by Gretchen Peters and Barry Walsh; 

"Who Do You Love?"by Elizabeth Kay; 

"Rebirth"by Caterpillars; 

"Monica's Frock" by Signel-Z; 

"Natural Disasters" by Corey Landis; 

"1,000 Leather Tassels" by The Blank Tapes; 

"We Are All Stone" and "Those Machines" by Outer Minds; 

"Another Dream" by MMOSS; "Susannah" by Woolen Kits; 

Jim Morrison, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and other dead celebrities / news by A SECRET PARTY;

"I Miss the Day" by My Secret Island,  

"Carriers of Light" by Brendan James;

"The Last Time" by Model Stranger;

"Last Call" by Jay;

"Darkness" by Leonard Cohen; 

"Sweetbread" by Simian Mobile Disco and "Keep You" fromActress off the Chronicle movie soundtrack; 

"Goodbye to Love" from October Dawn; 

Trouble in Mind 2011 label sampler; 

Black Box Revelation Live on Minnesota Public Radio;

Apteka "Striking Violet"; 

Mikal Cronin's "Apathy" and "Get Along";

Dana deChaby's progressive rock




"Music Hot Spots"




























Rick Alan Rice (RAR) Literature Page


CCJ Publisher Rick Alan Rice dissects the building of America in a trilogy of novels collectively calledATWOOD. Book One explores the development of the American West through the lens of public policy, land planning, municipal development, and governance as it played out in one of the new counties of Kansas in the latter half of the 19th Century. The novel focuses on the religious and cultural traditions that imbued the American Midwest with a special character that continues to have a profound effect on American politics to this day. Book One creates an understanding about America's cultural foundations that is further explored in books two and three that further trace the historical-cultural-spiritual development of one isolated county on the Great Plains that stands as an icon in the development of a certain brand of American character. That's the serious stuff viewed from high altitude. The story itself gets down and dirty with the supernatural, which in ATWOOD - A Toiler's Weird Odyssey of Deliveranceis the outfall of misfires in human interactions, from the monumental to the sublime. The book features the epic poem "The Toiler" as well as artwork by New Mexico artist Richard Padilla.

Elmore Leonard Meets Larry McMurtry

Western Crime Novel











I am offering another novel through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing service. Cooksin is the story of a criminal syndicate that sets its sights on a ranching/farming community in Weld County, Colorado, 1950. The perpetrators of the criminal enterprise steal farm equipment, slaughter cattle, and rob the personal property of individuals whose assets have been inventoried in advance and distributed through a vast system of illegal commerce.

It is a ripping good yarn, filled with suspense and intrigue. This was designed intentionally to pay homage to the type of creative works being produced in 1950, when the story is set. Richard Padilla has done his usually brilliant work in capturing the look and feel of a certain type of crime fiction being produced in that era. The whole thing has the feel of those black & white films you see on Turner Movie Classics, and the writing will remind you a little of Elmore Leonard, whose earliest works were westerns. Use this link.



If you have not explored the books available from Amazon.com's Kindle Publishing division you would do yourself a favor to do so. You will find classic literature there, as well as tons of privately published books of every kind. A lot of it is awful, like a lot of traditionally published books are awful, but some are truly classics. You can get the entire collection of Shakespeare's works for two bucks.

You do not need to buy a Kindle to take advantage of this low-cost library. Use this link to go to an Amazon.com page from which you can download for free a Kindle App for your computer, tablet, or phone.

Amazon is the largest, but far from the only digital publisher. You can find similar treasure troves atNOOK Press (the Barnes & Noble site), Lulu, and others.








If you are a filmmaker there is a pretty good chance that you belong to the Stage 32 site. You can find me at https://www.stage32.com/profile/40724 . The site has a large group of users and contributors and they produce many blogs and webinars providing information useful to the independent filmmaker. The items below are synopses of some of what has shown up on that site recently, though it is updated constantly. This is sort of fun reading even if you aren't an aspiring filmmaker.


Film Insurance

Are you buying insurance coverage for your independent film? Are you doing anything that might be considered hazardous? Stunts of any kind? You might want to get smart to Workers Compensation
Insurance. In fact, did you know there is such a thing as Reality Television and Participant Insurance? You can by short term or annual. And are you covered for Errors & Omissions? How about your material use rights? And once you have made your film, does your insurance cover your work as online content?

Casting Name Talent

Independent filmmakers gain legitimacy for their work by casting well-known actors. It usually starts with an agent getting a script to some known actor. Letters of Intent and Letters of Commitment are produced and offers are pieced together. Filmmakers often make multiple offers for the same role, and agreements negotiated around the how/when/under what conditions of making the film impact who finally gets the deal. Some actors work on "Pay or Play" offers, meaning they are guaranteed remuneration if they are released from the contract through no fault of their own. Some may work for deferred payments, or even just for screen credit. Some may demand "Back-end Points", meaning they'll take a percentage of the film's gross or net profits. Some require special treatment, like First Class Airfare and expensive accommodations.

Narrative Theme

Films are almost always explorations of the human experience, on some level, aimed at revealing something about the natures of the characters in the play. Screenwriters spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to leverage their narrative theme, and they think in terms of three act plays. They usually start with a central question that their script intends to explore, like "how does a traumatic experience in youth impact one later in life?" That works as a premise to a deeper theme, like "finding inner peace through forgiveness." Screenwriters will introduce and articulate the theme in the first act, demonstrate it in the second, develop a new element of the theme in the middle of the story, challenge the thematic question near the end of the second act, and then answer the thematic question with the climax of the work.

Film Deliverables

Once your film is produced, you need the following products to get your film to market (either through festival, theater, or VOD): Apple ProRes 422 HQ master source file with frame rate and resolution specs and in the appropriate mono or stereo format; DVD/Blu-ray Copies; Closed Captioning, mandatory for VOD platforms; Subtitling for foreign markets; Timecoded transcript for creating and protecting against errors in subtitles and captioning, required for foreign sales; Music Cue Sheet, listing songs used in the film with duration, composer, title and in-and-out cues, required for subscription platforms like Netflix; Music License Materials so your film can be exhibited; Metadata listing cast and crew, a synopsis, a logline.

Lighting Techniques

Cinematography is all about capturing light, making light sources critical elements in the filmmaking process. There are several ways to light a scene. Natural lighting outdoors is the least expensive option, but the filmmaker gives up some control over the positioning of subjects. Indoors, lamps can be positioned to advantage. Light can be bounced from a white surface to fill in shadows on a subject's face. Conversely, a black bed sheet can be used to cut light for a negative fill to add contrast. Household Items like China ball lanterns can provide even, soft light. Floor and table lamps highlight specific areas in a scene and pull double duty on camera as part of the set. Flood Lights or shop lights will provide harsh shadows, or can be bounced for softer light. LED fixtures are light, portable, and less hazardous, plus they run off batteries.


The success of your film begins with good pre-production work. The choices you make in pre-production largely determine the visual language of your film. You will be choosing your camera and doing location scouting, and then you will develop lookbooks, shot lists and camera/lighting overheads.

Film Scoring

Film composer Russ Whitelock recently published a blog post on Stage 32 in which he recounted things he had learned in scoring a film in four weeks. You can make a short 4-6 week deadline by scoring five minutes of film per day. Float ideas. Write "temporary theme" music to review with the director to determine if it captures the feeling the director intends, and then writes alternatives. Don't over-use the theme in your score, audiences will notice and grow to hate it. The way your composition is mixed is more important than anything else, so plan to spend more time on getting the mix right than you did in composing the score.

Scene Descriptions

Screenplays are highly technical documents in that their audiences - film directors - consume them with the expectation of getting specific types of information from specific parts of the script. Scene descriptions are where directors and visual designers get huge amounts of the information they will use to set up their shots and shoot their scenes. The tone is set in the scene description. It is where the script conveys humor, terror, or suspense. The crafting of character introductions is critical, because here the writer conveys the first impressions of a character. The reader should know what kind of character this is before his or her first line is ever spoken. The scene description provides point of view information that suggests camera angles (though not explicitly, as would a shooting script).

Tips for Networking

Never make conversations about you. Ask the person you are speaking with to talk about themselves. Ask them questions. The people you target in your network know that they are being pitched, just like they are all day every day. Don't tell them you are a writer, they suspect that is probably the case. They will let you know if they want to give you an opening to talk about your product, and when they do you need to know what to say. Practice your pitch so that you are telling your story in a concise and authentic way. As with any client relationship, serve the listener so that they feel that they are engaging with you as much as they are the product you are selling. It is a confidence game. They need to have confidence in you, so be real.

Publicizing a Film

Don't wait until post-production to start publicizing your film. Use social media to start building an audience early. Develop a marketing and media plan and start creating buzz. Educate yourself in the process of publicizing product to know how to effectively work with paid publicists. They will know how to effectively develop and use your publicity budget and they may help you gain additional funding. They can support crowdfunding campaigns with marketing, and they can place product and identify co-marketing opportunities. They can help you refine your materials to attract investors and distributors. Activate the social media resources of your cast and crew. Get them talking about the project. Capture the behind-the-scenes story of shooting the film. You can use videos, stills, outtakes, to publicize your film. Work with your publicist to produce a publicity plan with a set schedule for when you will be doing publicity work. That way you can plan your film production schedule accordingly.

Distributing a Film

Getting a film released in theaters across the country is a complex business, but the trend has been toward self-distribution through limited theatrical or platform release. "A platform release is a type of limited release strategy, whereby a film opens in fewer theaters (typically 599 or less) than a wide release. If the film receives positive word of mouth, then it is gradually expanded to more theaters as the marketing campaign gains momentum" (from Wikipedia). The other option for broad distribution is to "four wall" your film, wherein a studio or distributor rents movie theaters for a period of time and receives all of the box office revenue. The distribution strategy is described in the business plan that you develop to attract investors. It details the number of theaters that will show your film, the number of cities in which your film will be shown, and other details, and it is intended to create value for your product. It sets the agreement for disposition of box office receipts.

Film Festival Planning

Creating a Film Festival Strategy is an important part of marketing your film. It should detail your goals for the film, and define the intended audience for your work. You should consider the different tiers of the film festival world to determine which festivals you should apply for. You need to learn the cycle of the film festival circuit. You need to figure out which types of films are benefited by exposure in which types of festivals. Some film festivals may require that you pay to play. Is that right for you? You need to have a publicity plan for your festival distributions, as well as film materials. You may also need a plan for collecting assets.




Writing Comedy

Concept, structure, voice and timing are pretty much at the core of all writing, but nowhere is the synchronization of those elements as critical as it is in writing comedy. You must master beats and breaks and accurately read an audience that isn't even there to provide clues. You need to create memorable characters in situations that hit on resonating themes. The best characters are torn by opposing goals and forces within themselves - their inner struggles. You must tell their stories through a cleverly orchestrated stream of jokes, and they have to be of the right kind, and of a tone consistent with the broader work. Is it any wonder you don't read more funny scripts? Once you have mastered the nuances of this most difficult form, you must sell your product on the strength of a compelling one-sentence pitch - the logline - that makes producers want to read your script.

Developing Material that Will Sell

Creative types often hate that their success is ultimately a business thing, but it explains why you sometimes find successful filmmakers who aren't creatives. People who want to develop a film idea and attract production companies and distributors think in terms of what material they might be able to elevate to develop a marketable product. You can film an original screenplay, or you can adapt a screen version of another work. Whatever you think you can sell, you need to consider your concept and ideas and determine if you have television or movie material. You need to sell your product just as you would in any other business, emphasizing why yours is different, more inventive. You should develop character worksheets that trace the arc of their storylines, especially if you are doing an episodic TV idea. You will need a dynamic synopsis of your story. You either need an idea of which network is best for your show, or if you are making a movie, which producer. Filmmakers estimate a budget for the film and consider the types of films that various production companies have developed. You will need examples of comparable works, because that works best to convey familiar ideas to prospective partners. Develop your pitch.

Managers and Agents

Both of these professional types can be important to the success of a screenwriter, depending upon where the writer is at in his or her career. Agents tend to be more deal-oriented and are not very involved with product development. Managers tend to be more career-oriented and involved. They are different animals from a legal standpoint. Agents are governed by labor law in the state in which they do business. Literary agencies are permitted, by law, to procure employment (i.e., writing assignments) for their clients for a fee. Managers, conversely, are not governed by state labor laws and, consequently, are not permitted to procure employment for their clients for a fee. What they do, according to Marc Hernandez, Managing Partner and Literary Manager with the Crescendo Entertainment Group in Los Angeles, is sell screenplays (and treatments, pitches, and ideas); submit material to executives, directors and talent, and facilitate meetings; and introduce clients to attorneys, agents (managers can be more effective at getting a client an agent than a client submitting directly), financiers, and publicists. Agents and managers cover the town (for their clients) for information, take spec screenplays and pitches out to the market, and submit material to production company and studio executives (which can lead to selling a screenplay or obtaining a writing assignment).



Turning Your Screenplay Into a Novel and a Movie

Recently Jeff Lyons, an instructor through Stanford University's Online Writerís Studio and the University of California at Riverside's Extension Program, used his Stage 32 blog to offer insights into turning a novel into a screenplay. Here are some key points:

"Screenwriters are adapting their screenplays to novels, so that they can attract producers to option them for film/TV development," says Lyons. "Rather than writing the book first, then optioning to a production company and then writing the screenplay based on the book, the trend now is script first, then the book, then the option sale and then a rewrite or full-on purchase of the original script that started the process. In many ways, the old model of adaptation has been turned on its head."

WRITE DEEPER: "Prose is all about language, the written word, the musicality and rhythm of the sentence, paragraph and chapter. Novelists write to be read, because people read books for the joy of reading. Readers donít have to; they actually want to. So, language rules, but story is also critical. Unlike with screenplays, novels are the final product and so the writing process is as important as story development.

There are many novels with weak or non-existent stories that captivate readers solely on the power of the written word (In Search of Lost Time, Marcel Proust; Lectures in America, Gertrude Stein). That would never happen with a screenplay; having a weak, or worse, no story, equals an immediate 'pass' in any reading scenario. So, the mantra for novelists is: show, donít tell, but donít worry about telling a lot, exposition is your friend. You have no limits, so write, write, write, go deep, go long and leave no emotional stone unturned. 'Story real estate' is literally unlimited."

EXPAND YOUR POV: "Screenwriters have one POV, one tense and a limited flexibility in narrative voice through dialogue, helped out occasionally by stylistic or colorful exposition. Novelists have at least five POVs, two tenses and unlimited flexibility with voice. How does a screenwriter adapt to all this flexibility when they are trained to keep things contained in one POV, one tense and limited voice? Once again, it is all in the writing. You have to play with all of these options to see what works for the story and this takes time and effort. Even novelists struggle with POV and tense. It is not unusual for novelists to write a book once in one POV/tense and then do a rewrite of the entire book changing both POV and tense."

SUBPLOTS AND SUPORTING CHARACTERS: "Coming up with two, three, or four sub-stories from your screenplay that only tells one major storyline can be nerve-racking and intimidating, but this hurdle must be traversed if your screenplay is going to support a three or four-hundred page narrative, but, donít despair, subplots will always suggest themselves in the screenplay; so, look to key supporting characters and let your imagination run by giving them their own stories within the story."

NARRATIVE SCOPE: "The same is true moving from script to novel. The screenplayís premise will almost always have to be reinvented to build in the main subplots, new action lines and more complex story elements. The knee jerk is to use the script as a great outline for the book, for example, follow the scriptís story beats and all will be well. This almost never works. If you do not go into the adaptation process with a mindset that you will have to retool your story from the ground up, then you may be setting yourself up for major struggles down the development road. Turning a script into a novel is not just about adding words and expanding scenes, itís about adding the right words and expanding the right scenes."

EXPOSITION: "Novels allow for far more telling than showing. This is hard for screenwriters because the script development process rejects long exposition and anything that is not visual on the page. Learning how to use exposition requires a whole, new mindset on the part of the writer that says, 'exposition is your friend'. For most novelists trying to write screenplays, one of the telltale signs that the writer is a novelist is that their exposition tends to be many paragraphs longókiss of death for any screenplay.

In contrast, for many screenwriters trying to write prose, the opposite is true; exposition tends to be short, curt, stunted and in sentence fragments. Once again, for the screenwriter attempting to make this mind shift, the solution is not some simplistic strategy of writing in complete sentences and adding more words for the sake of volume. The key to success is learning how to leverage all the 'story real estate' by going deeper into the motivations of your characters, finding lyrical and even musical ways of describing the story world and luxuriating in writing that fills in the expositional holes of the story, but doing so organically, using just the right amount of words: no more, no less. The two main potholes waiting for you here are: rambling, overly detailed descriptions and purple prose (extravagant or ornate prose that breaks the narrative flow and screams, "Isnít my writing clever?"). "





Copyright © November, 2018 Rick Alan Rice (RARWRITER)