Tag Archives: independent

Turning the Girl

Recently, I had the pleasure of talking to Samantha Kolesnik and Vanessa Wright for Scindie Magazine about their film adaptation of Stephen King’s Rainy Season. I was immediately impressed with the pair. They have both received recognition from film festivals for their script writing prowess, they have clear vision with the determination needed to bring it to life, and they expressed genuine interest and respect for the process of creating art. They have created an organization, Above the Line Artistry, that focuses on supporting and promoting its members; it is filmmaker centric, but they let me in and are welcoming to any dedicated artist.

You might be asking “what does this have to do with publishing and poetry?” Well, nothing really. But Samantha and Vanessa are full of that independent creative spirit that I admire. And I believe that they have great stories to tell and compelling films to make and I want to be a part of it in any way that I can. So, I’ve signed on as a Production Assistant for another project of theirs.

TTG_PosterTurning the Girl has the potential to be a landmark production for women in independent film. The script, written by Kolesnik, is designed to provoke conversation while simultaneously telling a thrilling, mysterious tale. Wright, who wrote the screenplay for Rainy Season, will sit the director’s chair.

Here’s what Vanessa had to say about meeting Samantha and the story of Turning the Girl:  “I met Samantha at the 2015 Shriekfest Horror Film Festival in Los Angeles, we both had short scripts that were finalists, hers was The Price of Bones and mine was The Time Changer:  Close at Hand.  We hit it off immediately and I asked her to join my group on Facebook, Above the Line Artistry.  During this time, her script TPOB was being produced and she was wanting to be more involved in production so I offered for her to come on board to produce Rainy Season with me.  As we got to know each other she told me a bit about her production company and her feature thriller that she wanted to produce this fall.  I was intrigued by the little information she divulged to me and I asked to read the script.

“I was immediately drawn to the story, and I knew, that even though it was a fictional story, the message was very real and very important.  It’s hard to find roles like these for women, each character is extremely dynamic and we are really going to push some boundaries…and buttons.  I think this film is going to start a lot of conversations and make audiences squirm…Controversy makes for great art and great films.”

STARRING_TTGThe actresses in the film echo the same sentiment. Kristin Samuelson, who will play Headmistress Collins, says: “There’s the whole feminist aspect to the film.  I am a member of Women in Film and Television (WIFT).  When I was a classical singer, I had a lecture/recital I did about women who composed music over the centuries.  They usually don’t get attention in the history books, even though they were amazing!  I feel strongly that women need to use their intelligence to be out there getting equal opportunity, equal pay and equal treatment in our society.  A film with a female writer and director telling a female story is fantastic!!  We need more films like this! Overall, I cannot say enough positive things about this film!  Very excited to be participating in it’s creation.”

“The thing that initially drew me to this project was the idea of a psychological thriller featuring an all-female cast.” says Christine Nelson (Cameron) “Once I read the script I really understood why it was so important for women to tell this story. The film sheds light on difficult subject matter that is often considered to be taboo. I am incredibly proud to be a part of this project.”

And Jennette Nelligan (Lindsey) is all-in, saying “I’m beyond ready to get to work with this talented group of women. Samantha and Vanessa, two powerhouses for women in film, were the two faces I encountered walking into the audition. It was refreshing to say the least. Female voices are often filtered through men in film, but not for this project. This is the direction film will be heading towards and I’m ecstatic to be a part of the conversation it’s creating.”

While there are prominent figures doing work on a bigger stage (see Amy Poehler, Lena Dunham, Samantha Bee), films like Turning the Girl – women like Samantha and Vanessa – will be integral in achieving equal footing for women in film and entertainment and beyond.

I assume that by now you are thinking “this sounds great! I’m in. But I know nothing about making a film! How can I help?” You, my friend, go to the Indiegogo Campaign for Turning the Girl, you look over the perks, and you contribute at any level that fits your budget…from a single dollar up to the entire collection of gold doubloons that you and your rag-tag band of friends stole from One-eyed Willy. Then take a moment to leave a comment letting them know that PunksWritePoems sent you. That’s it. Done. Sit back and watch history happen!


Another Crazy Idea…or, Scindie Magazine: In the Shower

Sometimes when I’m in the shower, I stand for long pauses letting the water hit that spot on my neck just below my hairline and I zone out. I don’t lose time, but the only way I can estimate how long I’m out is by gauging how much colder the water has gotten since my skin last sent a single that my brain received. While I’m in this pose, naked and wet and warm, head slightly bowed, I have some of my oddest thoughts. Not like “wouldn’t a miniature pink and green swirled elephant be a totally bizarre thing ” kind of odd thoughts. More like life choices and career choices and story ideas. I’ve often composed entire poems in these moments and then desperately tried to make some record of them before they get lost in the ever-changing maze in my head.

I decided to self-publish a book while in the shower and even gave it a title. Soon after I was arranging spoons on the kitchen counter and taking photos of them.

I came up with the concept for This Is Not a Movement in the shower.

In my birthday suit, I made the decision to start a publishing company.

Concepts for Split 7″ (a novella project that did not work…yet) and Don’t Open Till Doomsday and Melee came to me then, as well.

I even proposed to my wife in the shower…not really! But I did make the decision to do it while showering.

Point is: I’ve learned to trust these moments. To go with them and see what comes out of it.

So the other day, I zoned out and begin to conceptualize a solution to a problem. It is super hard to obtain reviews for poetry books. Next to promotion/marketing, soliciting reviews is the most frustrating part of running a small indie press. And, really, reviews are part of the promotion/marketing aspect. The obvious solution might be to knuckle down and keep sending out inquiries and keep feeling like the return isn’t worth the investment.

But I am not a big fan of asking politely into the void. I prefer to take a more direct approach to the problem as a whole and, in this case, the solution doesn’t really help me with the review problem.

The beginnings of Scindie Magazine were forming. PunksWritePoemsPress could start an online magazine for reviews of small press and self-pub authors. But there are so many websites for reviews!!! I know it, so ours has to be different.

How will it be different?

  • We will ask you, the writer/editor/creative-force-behind-totally-awesome-thing, to request that we review your thing through a simple form. You don’t have to contact us “cold”.
  • You can also request that we interview you for the magazine.
  • Or you can fill out our “Five Quick Questions” form and our readers can get a glimpse into your world.
  • Do you have a fun real-life story or helpful anecdote that you think other people like you would enjoy? We will have a submission form for editorial/article pitches!
  • We will be asking that if we review your thing, that you be willing to provide a review of another’s thing for a later issue.
  • The magazine will look like a magazine! It will not be a blog that you scroll through. It will be an online magazine…with pages…that you have to turn! And it will be free. Free to read. Free to download. Free to print, staple together, and leave at your favorite hang out.

Why do I keep saying “thing” instead of book? Because, I want this to be open to not just authors, but bands and film makers and visual artists. We want to embrace the spirit of being truly independent, no matter what the creative endeavor.

And in that spirit, we will offer ridiculously low (probably free) advertising space for your thing, as well.

The vision will become clearer as we move forward, but I think this is a good start.

Scindie Header

What is Scindie, anyway? I wrote a post on tumblr several months ago in which I coined the word “scindie” as being a “second class independent” publisher. That’s what we are. So I’m embracing it! Scindie Magazine will be for and about the independent creative people who fall outside of what independent publishing has become.