New Home

“Musings From The Farmgirl” is being relaunched at starstruckfarmgirl.blogspot.com. This site will stay up to preserve the archive of my posts.

Come visit me in my new home!


Starstruck Update

A lot has happened since my last post on May 14. Shortly after I started a job, graduated college, and left the job. But don’t worry. I wasn’t fired. It was a temporary job. Since then I have been out of work. Thankfully, I haven’t been bored. I had a wicked cold and a lot of Deadwood to keep me entertained (if you haven’t had the chance to see this brilliant show, seek it out. All three seasons are on DVD. The cast, production values, and writing are absolutely amazing).

I’ve also been doing a lot of writing. I described to my mom today that I feel like I have saucepans on all four burners simmering away and I just have to decide which pot to stir and at what time. I’m really excited at the possibilities before me and even more thrilled to put my degree to work.

I was hoping to talk all about my new projects but I realized there’s only two, I’m ready to comment on. One is a screenplay about a widower who falls for a mysterious woman who comes to town (with a few twists that I’m hoping will work out and be surprising). The other is actually a novel about a makeup artist and her adventures in dating as she harbors a secret. While I am primarily interested in screenwriting, I don’t mind working in other forms as I find my voice. I hope to share these–and more–with you soon.

Thank you so much for your loyal support. I hope to have more to share in the near future. I’m still working out the new direction for my blog and hope to have news about its relaunch too.

With Love,
Megan Cline
The Starstruck Farmgirl


Saying Goodbye…But Not Forever

I’ve posted nearly two hundred blog posts but today is my last.

I’ve loved blogging and sharing a little bit of myself with the world. As I learn more about blogging, writing, and myself, I have decided the time has come for me to focus my energies into other projects.

I hope to someday soon return to the blog but when I do it will be in a different format and a different set up. I will post on this site when that happens and where you can find it.

In the meantime, thank you all for the help and support. It means a lot.

Good bye for now–but not forever.

The Starstruck Farmgirl


It’s Okay To Separate The Two

“What we want is not more books about Christianity, but more books by Christians on other subjects”
-CSLewis

 

A very good friend of mine posted this on his Facebook today and I couldn’t agree more.  It took me down memory lane and made me realize that I don’t talk much about my history as a writer.  I had to come to a place where I could separate the two parts of my life—the part of me that’s a believer and the part of me that’s a writer—in order to be the writer I desire.  Today, I’d like to muse about my journey as a writer and as a believer.

I tend to keep my religious views to myself.  They’re pretty controversial.  For about the last five years I’ve identified myself as Agnostic.  The story of how I got to that point could fill a book and maybe someday I’ll write it.  For now, I’ll keep it simple.  However, for most of my writing “career,” I’ve been a Christian.

When I started writing, I was fourteen.  At the time, I attended a Southern Baptist church.  I was pretty much told I was choosing an “immoral” profession.  I heard later on that a Sunday School teacher even approached my parents and said it was wrong for them to support my aspirations.  Thankfully, my parents told that person to mind their own business.  I kept writing and creating characters but still struggled with how to tell my stories.  I brought it up in a Sunday School class where the teacher said I should use the Bible as my guide.  If the Bible says it’s okay, it’s okay for my characters to do.  If the Bible says it’s not okay, my characters shouldn’t do it.  I made a decision.  The only way I felt I could be accepted as a Christian and as a writer would be if I wrote squeaky clean stories with no sex or bad language.  And to make it even more appealing, I had it in my head that I was going to “clean up Hollywood” and be such a positive influence that all movies would be positive, moral and Christian.

Fast forward to ten years later when reality set in and I took my first Screenwriting class (I had taught myself format and structure through books).  My teacher said that squeaky clean doesn’t sell and she’s right.  Yes, there’s lots of positive, clean movies out there but unless I want to write Disney movies the rest of my career, I was going to need to branch out.  It took me awhile but I encouraged myself to “Let Go” and that led to me being more creative than ever.  Hollywood is never going to change and go clean.  I like that.  Some of my favorite movies are R-rated.  They’re that way for a reason.  If you don’t want to watch an R-rated movie, don’t.  There is enough in the marketplace where there’s something for everyone.

With this newfound freedom as a writer, I had a renewed struggle for how I was supposed to be a writer and a Christian.  And then I realized, they are two different things.  As a writer, I tell stories.  As a Christian, I worship the Lord and work to be the best person I can be.  I’m now downgraded to believer, but I feel that part of my life is very private and doesn’t need to be expressed in my work.  The two parts of my life are separate with the believer part of me making an occasional appearance in my writing.  Now that I’m agnostic, that part of me is woven into my stories.

My characters are varied.  I’m working on a script right now with a protagonist with a past.  She has the potential of being a pretty amazing character.  She’s far from perfect.  And I love that about her.  For another project, I wrote an entire short film script that took place in a strip club.  It was possibly the most fun I’ve had as a writer.  The audience at the reading I had seemed to love it.

For all writers, it is a struggle just to get a deal to write in your preferred medium.  I want to tell stories.  I don’t want to share the gospel or preach through my work.  I have very strong beliefs about sharing faith.  If someone isn’t careful, they can do a lot of damage to someone’s spiritual well being.  Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.  I am in no place to share my faith.  I am just as confused as anyone else.  It is a very personal relationship between me and my Lord and a part of my life I keep to myself and take out only when I feel it’s appropriate.  I am a writer, not a minister.

I think Christians in any secular field can do a lot of good even if they never say a word about their faith.  Being an honest, respectful, trustworthy, and kind person is a gift to anyone.  I try to be all of these and more when I’m working in the world.  Through my writing, I try to be positive, funny, thoughtful and interesting.  If my story can make you laugh and forget about your crummy day at work, make you fall in love with the characters, or crave a turkey sandwich, then I have done my job.

So to writers who are Christians, I offer this piece of advice:  write how you feel led.  I have felt led to write secularly in a variety of genres.  You can be a Christian and a writer without being a Christian Writer (unless that’s what you feel led to be).  Do not compromise for anyone or because someone tries to put their beliefs on you.  If you’ve read this and are blessed and feel like it helps, I am grateful.  If you read this and feel like it’s a load of crap, that’s okay too.  I just speak from my heart.  I don’t expect results.  They’re just an added bonus.

 

 


Can Self-Distribution Work For Everyone?

Click on the link below to read the article from ifc.com on Kevin Smith’s plan to self distribute his next film Red State.  Following the link is my opinion.

http://www.ifc.com/news/2011/01/why-kevin-smiths-red-state-sel.php

As my readers likely know, I am still at the aspiring stage of filmmaking.  While I’m still in this place, I pay attention to the trends of the business and what works and doesn’t for distributing and producing films.  I wasn’t at Sundance (someday I’ll be there) and didn’t see Smith’s film or presentation but I read quite a bit about it.  I also saw a trailer.  Many critics who saw the movie said it wasn’t very good.  Bad movies get released every day.  However, I think this method could work for Kevin Smith.  For Megan Cline, not so much.  Below are the reasons I have for how it might work for Kevin Smith and not for someone like me.

There are a lot of expenses involved in distribution. According to the article, the ticket prices would be in line with Smith’s “An Evening With Kevin Smith” night and hover around seventy dollars.  Would you pay seventy dollars per person for a movie?  I can’t think of a single movie I love that is worth that much.  If I’m paying seventy dollars for a movie, I should be going home with at least two copies of the movie.  On Blu Ray.  The argument could be made that when you buy a movie on DVD you pay nearly thirty for it.  True.  But if I’m paying that much I get to keep it forever, watch it as many times as I want and usually when I pay that much, it’s because I know I like it.    It’s not just ticket prices.  There’s theater rentals, travel expenses to each city, prints, and advertising.  All the things a studio has to pay for when they distribute.  Sure, there’s ways to cut costs but you still have to pay money.  Kevin Smith has a tour bus.  Not everyone has a tour bus.

The movie has to be bankable. Red State was made for four million dollars.  From the trailer, I recognized John Goodman, Melissa Leo, and Stephen Root.  All very talented actors.  Kevin Smith himself is also a famous director.  He has a loyal fan base and many Twitter followers.  He also has a very intriguing idea.  His name will sell tickets.  Independent filmmakers can draw bankable talent too if the money and story are there.  I know people locally who self-distribute.  From what I’ve seen of their work, I wouldn’t waste my money.  They post clips on their websites and blogs that are painfully bad.  If your selling material (your trailers and clips) don’t draw an audience, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.  From what I’ve read, Red State isn’t quite ready for an audience.

Red State is already controversial. Red State takes a topic that frustrates many people–fundamental Christians–and creates a story people might be interested in.  It’s also controversial in how Smith handled the sale.  All of these factors have created an ad campaign intended or not.  For someone without Smith’s fanbase, how would you be able to convince people to see your movie?  You can advertise, but it costs a lot of money to do that.  If this kind of self-distribution takes off, does that mean anyone trying to sell their film is going to stir up controversy or come up with stunts to make it work?

If this doesn’t work, it could end a career. I honestly think Smith is going to end his career based on this.  After pulling a stunt with a fake auction and verbal teardown of the distribution system to a room filled with executives and reporters, unless Red State is a major hit, I don’t see how his career is going to recover.  For an emerging filmmaker, if they self distribute a bad film, that becomes their calling card.  They might be able to work again but not easily.

I am not saying this system won’t work.  I am all for doing things outside the box to get a movie made and to an audience.  I’m not saying I’ll never self distribute.  I just feel that there’s a lot of bugs to work out before I would agree to this method.  If it works, I hope I can find similar success when it’s my time to make a movie.  If it doesn’t work, I’ll still enjoy Smith’s films and hopefully learn from this new model.


Is Tuesday the New Monday?

For the last several weeks, Mondays have been a cakewalk (do they even have those anymore?). Sure, it was hard to get out of bed on most days but I’m not really a morning person. I’m more of a mid-morning person. Mondays were easy for me schedule wise. I had a tutoring session and then nothing for the rest of the day. I’d crawl back into bed when I got home so that was nice. Tuesdays were a different story.

Tuesdays were crazy. I had all my classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays so Tuesdays were the first full day of my week. Something inevitably would go wrong. Something like a panic attack before my ten o’clock class. Waking up with a stress induced migraine. I used up way too many sick days over the term so I had no choice many days but to drag myself out of bed.

Don’t get me wrong. I love school. I am thrilled to be there and even more thrilled that I am almost done. It’s a journey that has blessed me since day one (even though it was hard to see the blessings in that first year). I just felt a real difference on Tuesdays. It helped that my new favorite show is on Tuesday nights and that I could come home and crash. It just took awhile to get to that point in the day.

Today is my first Tuesday off from school. It should be an easy day, right? Well, I guess every day has its bumps. I’ve been pre-occupied with a continuing dilemma in my personal life (which is taking every fiber of my being to keep me from just pouring out my emotions on that one). There was a tornado watch for the city my parents and several friends live in. The news was triggering my panic to go a little overboard. And then, someone posted on Facebook there was a tornado watch for Southeast Portland. This led me to wonder if I needed to pack up and move into the laundry room and fret about how to get my cat to follow me. And then it turned out it was nothing (which is why I try to fact check before I post news on my Facebook). My housework feels like it’s working me and I just rearranged the mess rather than actually cleaning it. Grades come out tomorrow and I’m terrified (even though I checked the academic policy and I will be okay). I went out to run errands and at the last place they couldn’t take my stamps because the machine was down so I had to put something back so I could pay with the last bit of currency to my name. How awkward is that? I had the money but they couldn’t take it in the form I needed them to. I guess it happens to all of us but it’s still really embarrassing.

Maybe Tuesday has nothing to do with it. Maybe it’s just my time for a frustrating day. I know it could’ve been worse. I’m just glad I at least got out of the house for awhile and I have no homework. I just have stories to write. And I have new notebooks to write them in. And pizza is for dinner.

Maybe Tuesdays aren’t so bad after all.


Healing Coming From The Controversy

Billy Gardell is the star of the sitcom Mike and Molly. I saw my first episode of it last week and absolutely loved it. It was funny and sweet. Gardell and Melissa McCarthy (Molly) were a joy to watch. As the star of the show, Gardell was one of the targets in Maura Kelly’s Blog. In this clip, he addresses the controversy with dignity, grace, and most wonderful of all–forgiveness.