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Russ Colchamiro has written 704 articles so far, you can find them below.


Broken Flowers

While LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE is a big win, BROKEN FLOWERS fell short of the mark. In fact, I can’t remember the last time a movie aggravated me as much as BROKEN FLOWERS. (SPOILERS ahead, so stop reading if you don’t want to know about the plot).

The biggest problem with BROKEN FLOWERS is that it could have been a really satisfying movie, but instead, it really pissed me off. The gist of the movie is that Bill Murray (in another great, and especially understated performance), is an aging Don While LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE is a big win, BROKEN FLOWERS fell short of the mark. In fact, I can’t remember the last time a movie aggravated me as much as BROKEN FLOWERS. (SPOILERS ahead, so stop reading if you don’t want to know about the plot).

The biggest problem with BROKEN FLOWERS is that it could have been a really satisfying movie, but instead, it really pissed me off. The gist of the movie is that Bill Murray (in another great, and especially understated performance), is an aging Don Juan, who gets a letter from someone claiming to be an ex-girlfriend, who has a 20-year-old son. The letter also claims that Bill Murray’s character is the father, and that his son has taken a trip to find him. The letter is also unsigned, so he doesn’t know who the mother is.

Murray’s character doesn’t know what to believe, but convinced by his neighbor Winston (Geoffrey Wright), goes on a road trip of his own to visit each of the women he can remember dating 20 years ago and see if there’s any truth to the letter.

As Murray’s character visits each woman (and they’re all bizarre in the their own way), I was into the journey. It’s a little road trip, a little mystery, and you want him to get some closure. But he doesn’t.

After returning home, Murray meets a 19-year-old who [i]might[/i] be his son, but who runs away from Murray, and never comes back. Huh?

And the movie ends!

I don’t need to have all the loose ends tied up, but this movie didn’t tie up any of them. None. I’ve heard people say that it’s "artistic," but to me it was insulting. If you are going to ask the audience to go along with your movie for almost two hours, it the film maker’s responsibility to give them something to take with them. In what could have been a satisfying movie, BROKEN FLOWERS just annoyed the crap out of me. And not in a good way.

Don’t tease me. Either deliver, or don’t bother inviting me along. But don’t intentionally give me nothing. That’s crap. It’s not artistic. It’s insulting.

BROKEN FLOWERS could have been a good little movie. I was into it, and then got left with nothing.

What a waste.

Little Miss Sunshine

I finally got around to watching LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE last night, and it lived up to the billing. Wow. What a great little movie. All the characters were fun, you cared about what happened to them, and with one very minor exception, didn’t get preachy or weepy.

If anything, I would have liked to have seen just a little bit more of Steve Carrell’s character, but otherwise it was just fun beginning to end, but overall I give LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE two way big thumbs up.

It’s not every dayI finally got around to watching LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE last night, and it lived up to the billing. Wow. What a great little movie. All the characters were fun, you cared about what happened to them, and with one very minor exception, didn’t get preachy or weepy.

If anything, I would have liked to have seen just a little bit more of Steve Carrell’s character, but otherwise it was just fun beginning to end, but overall I give LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE two way big thumbs up.

It’s not every day that you get a movie with a failed suicide attempt, a heroin snorting senior citizen, a would-be self-help author, a teenager who won’t talk and a child beauty pageant … and a dead body … all rolled up into one story, but LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE pulls it off.

Go see it.

In Service

Being home with Liz this past week was a real eye-opener for me, and I’m grateful. I never realized just how involved you wind up being with someone when you’re their primary care giver.

Based on what I’ve described to people, I’ve gotten the impression that taking care of Liz this week–as she recovers from heart surgery–is like what parents go through when they care for their young children.

Only, expect, you know, without the kicking, screaming and crying.

Liz is much strongBeing home with Liz this past week was a real eye-opener for me, and I’m grateful. I never realized just how involved you wind up being with someone when you’re their primary care giver.

Based on what I’ve described to people, I’ve gotten the impression that taking care of Liz this week–as she recovers from heart surgery–is like what parents go through when they care for their young children.

Only, expect, you know, without the kicking, screaming and crying.

Liz is much stronger already, and can do much more on her own, but for those first few days I needed to do basically everything for her. Cook all the meals, help her get dressed, help her in and out of the shower, get changed. None of the tasks unto themselves are difficult, but you have to be "on" 24-7, in case she needs something, which I was happy to do.

But the chores we usually share–cooking, cleaning, dish washing, etc.–I’ve had to do solo. So there’s always something that needs doing.

And the thing is–I’ve loved it. Truly loved it.

I was reminded by someone about the significance of service, of giving of yourself for the welfare of someone else. And that’s how I’ve felt. I’ve been energized by caring for Liz, even though it hasn’t been easy (although it does get easier every day). Being with someone who is so totally dependent on you is a great responsibility, but also a great honor. And it’s important to take that seriously.

Even more surprising to me was that, after being home with Liz 24-7 for four straight days, I didn’t want to go back to work at all (I mean, I never [i]want [/i]to go to work, but this was different). I was having separation anxiety. My body was physically at work, but my mind, heart and soul were home with Liz.

I [i]missed[/i] being with her. I [i]missed[/i] taking her three walks a day with her. I [i]missed [/i]helping her with her breathing exercises. Getting her lunch for her. Watching TV together. Making sure she was comfortable.

Being of service to someone is wonderful. I’m certainly not happy about the reason I needed to do it, but I’m grateful for that time, now that I’ve had it. I grateful for so much.

Back to Work

Since my wife went into the hospital last week, and now that she’s home, I’ve barely been in the office. Spending so much time with Liz, even though she’s recovering from major heart surgery, just makes me want to spend that much more time with her. Believe me when I say I’d much rather be taking care of her than going to work.

It’s a strange experience, being someone’s full-time caregiver. You get so involved with every aspect of their day that it becomes a part of you. Liz is getting bettSince my wife went into the hospital last week, and now that she’s home, I’ve barely been in the office. Spending so much time with Liz, even though she’s recovering from major heart surgery, just makes me want to spend that much more time with her. Believe me when I say I’d much rather be taking care of her than going to work.

It’s a strange experience, being someone’s full-time caregiver. You get so involved with every aspect of their day that it becomes a part of you. Liz is getting better and stronger every day, and it’s a thrill to see her improve. My in-laws are coming for a few days for the shift change, and so I’m off to the office in about a half an hour.

Last night Liz told me that she was going to miss me when I went into the office. And I’m going to miss her. The last few days haven’t been exciting in an overt way, but they’ve been sweet and thrilling nonetheless. It isn’t often you get to care for someone in such an intimate way.

I’m not happy about the reason my wife needed this kind of care, but as long as it needed doing, I’m glad I was the one to do it.

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2007/01/20 10:44

Agents Update: Synopsis

Part of the search for an agent can include sending in a novel synopsis. Not every agent asks for one. In fact, many don’t. But for the agents that do, having a novel synopsis prepared is just one more element that I need to produce. OK. Fair enough.

But then …

As far as the synopsis goes, what exactly is an agent looking for? Well, that depends on the agent. According to several sources I’ve consulted, the synopsis of your novel should be as long or as short as it needs to be. If yoPart of the search for an agent can include sending in a novel synopsis. Not every agent asks for one. In fact, many don’t. But for the agents that do, having a novel synopsis prepared is just one more element that I need to produce. OK. Fair enough.

But then …

As far as the synopsis goes, what exactly is an agent looking for? Well, that depends on the agent. According to several sources I’ve consulted, the synopsis of your novel should be as long or as short as it needs to be. If you can summarize the whole book in a few pages, do that. If it takes 35 pages, it takes 35 pages.

They say that your synopsis should essential read like your novel, just boiled down to the key elements, but also including the nuance that makes your novel special. Also, they want you to reveal the surprises as they happen, so the agent can get a feel for how your novel will unfold.

So that’s what I did. I boiled down FINDERS KEEPERS into a synopsis, and it totaled out at about 20 pages single-spaced. That’s pretty long, but that’s how long it took. FINDERS KEEPERS is a multi-character adventure with many subtle moments of significance. Writing the synopsis wasn’t easy. It took me a few weeks, sitting down several days a week for several hours at a time. Because once I wrote the synopsis, I had to go back and edit the darn thing!

Even the synopsis has to be "perfect." No spelling mistakes. No redundancies. It’s another example of how well you write and what you bring to the table as an author.

And yet …

Some agents want a [i]short [/i]synopsis. No more than a page or two. So I ask you, how in the heck do you boil down a 20-page synopsis to a 2-page synopsis?! It was enough to make you me want to tear me hair out.

But I did it anyway.

It took some doing, but ultimately I just left out all of the secondary characters, and just stuck to the key characters and only the most important plot points. Writing the synopsis this way was actually a good lesson in story telling. It forced me to look at FINDERS KEEPERS in a new way. It also made me think it could use another rewrite! (I’m only half-kidding), but as much as writing the synopsis aggravated me, I’m glad I did it.

Hopefully it’ll pay off.

Entourage

Just a quick note here, but if there’s any show I just love–I mean love–it’s Entourage on HBO. There’s only been something like 30 episodes total so far, but I never get tired of them.

I recently picked up Seasons 1 and 2 on DVD (although very light on extras, which is a real bummer), and and I just read online that Season 3 is set to come out on DVD in April, which I’m dying for!

More on this later …Just a quick note here, but if there’s any show I just love–I mean love–it’s Entourage on HBO. There’s only been something like 30 episodes total so far, but I never get tired of them.

I recently picked up Seasons 1 and 2 on DVD (although very light on extras, which is a real bummer), and and I just read online that Season 3 is set to come out on DVD in April, which I’m dying for!

More on this later …

Hospital(ity)

I spent the last few evenings with Liz as she recovers from heart surgery, and it’s a huge relief to report that she’s doing great.

Given the kind of surgery she had–mitral valve repair–her recovery is going about as well as possibly could have been expected. Even just Liz’s energy level yesterday was significantly better than just the 24 hours before that.

One of the nicest parts of Liz’s recovery has been the number of people who have either called or emailed checking up on Liz, I spent the last few evenings with Liz as she recovers from heart surgery, and it’s a huge relief to report that she’s doing great.

Given the kind of surgery she had–mitral valve repair–her recovery is going about as well as possibly could have been expected. Even just Liz’s energy level yesterday was significantly better than just the 24 hours before that.

One of the nicest parts of Liz’s recovery has been the number of people who have either called or emailed checking up on Liz, or who have come by to visit her in the hospital (she’s at Columbia Presbyterian in NYC). Already she’s loaded up with flowers, but I think more importantly to her are the stacks of magazines she’s been given (thanks, ladies!), a few nice cards, and a box of tasty cupcakes (Anna, you rock!).

Hospitals, of course, are strange places, and here are just a few random thoughts and observations:

* Roommates: the first night Liz was brought to what’s called a "step-down" room after being in the ICU, her bed was directly opposite an older woman who had been there a few nights. Among other things, the woman repeatedly asked to know what time it was (about every 10 minutes) and apologized for burping and farting (about every 2 minutes).

Hey, at least she apologized.

* Parking: at the front of the hospital there’s actually a valet parking service.

The rate for the first half hour: $12

The rate for the first full hour: $13

I guess it’s that extra $1 that’s helping them find a cure for something important. I’ll get back to you when I figure out what that is.

* Drilling: maybe it’s just me, but was it absolutely necessary to have the repair men drilling new monitor wall brackets directly next to my wife when she was just 24 hours removed from MAJOR $%$#@! HEART SURGERY?!!

Eh, you know me. Always gotta bitch about something.

* Sick people: so naturally, while I was somewhat nervous that maybe it wasn’t so great for me to be visiting the hospital as I recovered from a violent case of food poisoning (I didn’t want to make anybody worse, especially Liz), I somehow forgot that the hospital is basically just one giant bubble of germs. And now I have a cold.

Good thing I was nervous about getting [i]other [/i]people sick.

* PB & J: the hospital food is so bad Liz has asked me to bring her a few PB & J sandwiches.

It’s at least one thing I never understood about hospitals. If someone is actually sick or injured badly enough that they need to be hospitalized, shouldn’t nutrition be, you know, like, important?

But then, I never went to med school, so what the hell do I know?

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2007/01/13 09:06

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2007/01/13 12:15

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2007/01/14 10:32

Heart of Champ

My wife Liz had major surgery today–heart surgery, in fact–and is a-okay. It’s bizarre to find out–at 35–that you need an operation to correct a leaky heart valve, but that’s just what happened. She did really well with the surgery, and is starting to recover.

The last few weeks, especially, have been particularly strange, because it seemed like everybody we knew handled the news far worse than we did. I was pretty calm about the whole thing, I think in large part because Liz was so calMy wife Liz had major surgery today–heart surgery, in fact–and is a-okay. It’s bizarre to find out–at 35–that you need an operation to correct a leaky heart valve, but that’s just what happened. She did really well with the surgery, and is starting to recover.

The last few weeks, especially, have been particularly strange, because it seemed like everybody we knew handled the news far worse than we did. I was pretty calm about the whole thing, I think in large part because Liz was so calm. She was such a champ. She had every reason to be freaking out, and a few off moments aside, she was pretty cool about it, even this morning as she gowned up for the surgery.

The doctor who did the procedure, Craig Smith, was the guy who operated on Bill Clinton a few years back, so my attitude has been, if the secret service cleared this guy to stick a knife in the president, then that’s pretty okay by me.

And he lived up to his billing.

I’m definitely relieved, and can’t wait to get Liz back home. But I especially want to thank everybody who’s sent all the warm wishes and support. We both really appreciate it. It helped a lot.

Food Poisoning

Just a short one here …

Got myself a little case of food poisoning today. Been about 8 hours so far with multiple needs for relief.

Warning of the day: stay away from the rib sandwich at Subway.

Not good.Just a short one here …

Got myself a little case of food poisoning today. Been about 8 hours so far with multiple needs for relief.

Warning of the day: stay away from the rib sandwich at Subway.

Not good.

Agents Update: Animal Kingdom

I’m now starting to get some responses to my agents query blitzkrieg, coming in in drips and drabs. Out of the 35 letters I sent out, I got two thanks, but no thanks. I got two that said, we’re just too busy for new clients blah, blah, blah, and one agent who liked the premise of FINDERS KEEPERS and asked me to submit pages, which I did.

Still waiting to hear back on that one.

But also I got two envelopes returned because I managed to address them incorrectly. Yeah, yeah. I know, I knI’m now starting to get some responses to my agents query blitzkrieg, coming in in drips and drabs. Out of the 35 letters I sent out, I got two thanks, but no thanks. I got two that said, we’re just too busy for new clients blah, blah, blah, and one agent who liked the premise of FINDERS KEEPERS and asked me to submit pages, which I did.

Still waiting to hear back on that one.

But also I got two envelopes returned because I managed to address them incorrectly. Yeah, yeah. I know, I know. Good job.

Oh well. I’ll just send them back out with the right address. (I hope)

And my favorite letter came back today. Without naming the agency, I got a letter today that said the agency has changed direction, and that for the foreseeable future, it will consider representation only for manuscripts (non fiction and fiction) about … animals.

This includes:

companion animals/pets

feral animals

working and service animals

domestic and farm animals

laboratory animals

caged animals

wild animals

Moreover, they are looking for manuscripts that "express ideas and tell stories powerful enough to change people’s views about animals …"

Well, looks like this one’s out.

Now where’s that darn cat …

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