Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Series of Small Breaks Has Left The Premises

Not to fear, I am only changing locations.

I have converted over to Wordpress. I have several reasons for the switch:

1. Picture/video/media hosting is MUCH easier.
2. Wordpress has an easy mobile app.
3. It's shiny over there.

New link: A Series of Small Breaks

Please update your RSS readers!

*Be sure to visit over there soon - my review on the world premiere of "Starwhackers" An Evening with The Quaids is coming soon!**

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I Won the Green Card Lottery!

...and for the low low processing fee of $880 dollars, wired to a bank account in the UK of course, I can trade in my free health care and go live the American Dream! Here is the email that was sent to me:

U.S. Department of State sent this message to Rachel Langer
Your registered name is included to show this message originated from U.S. Department of State.
Congratulations, you've won !
Dear Rachel Langer ,

Congratulations ! You are among those randomly selected and registered for further consideration in the diversity immigrant program. Selection guarantees that
you will receive a United States Permanent Resident Card(also known as Green Card or Diversity Visa) only if you follow the instructions for further processing.


Acceptance Date: Friday 8th of April 2011 09:47:45 AM
Winner Name: Rachel Langer
Country of Birth: Canada

Is the Diversity Visa FREE ?
No. There is a big confusion. Only the participation in the Diversity Visa Lottery was free but the winners must pay the visa processing fees.
The fee is used to process your visa related documents and verify your identity.

Fees:

Type of Residence Card Status Amount (per person)
United States Permanent Resident Card Granted! - Waiting for payment of processing fee $880
Processing fees Included
Total $880

INSTRUCTIONS
Please read and follow all the instructions very carefully. With the Diversity Visa (also known as Green Card) you will enjoy all the advantages and benefits of a US permanent resident, including health and education benefits, and employment opportunities along with guidance in your new country, orientation sessions and programs to integrate into mainstream American society. Once received you can use it at any time you want to move in the United States or just travel. The visa must be renewed after 10 years.

Although you will have all the rights that a U.S. citizen has in the United States, without a relative or friend in the United States you may find the relocation difficult and expensive due the lack of experience in the American society. Therefore the U.S. Government helps you with the accommodation and offers you along with each visa Health Insurance (Freedom HSA Direct Individual Health insurance for 1 year), Dwelling(Apartment in any city you prefer, 1 bedroom for 3 months ), a guaranteed job(in the field that you are are currently qualified so you can start working even from the first week you arrive in the United States and get paid as U.S citizen. ) and education (for U.S. Students or Higher Education through EducationUSA. It includes transfer to a U.S college or Univeristy so you can continue your educational study. More details can be found at http://educationusa.state.gov/ .)

We remind you that only the visa processing fee ($880) is mandatory and the visa is guaranteed upon receiving the payment.

Accompanying family members(wife/husband, fiancee, brothers, sisters, children, cousins) may be included in the program and their visas will be provided at the same time with yours so you can travel/move together in the same time. However the fees must be paid per person and each member(e.g wife, brother, parents, children, cousin) must pay $880. There is no discount for children.

Visa Payment processing instructions

The fees must be paid using Western Union money transfer and will be processed by the U.S. embassy in the United Kingdom.
Western Union is a leading provider of International person-to-person money transfer. With more than 150 years experience and 245,000 Agent locations in over 200 countries and territories, Western Union is recognized for sending money quickly, reliably, and safety.
You can send the payment in U.S. dollars or equivalent of your local currency.

Click on the following link to find the nearest Western Union agency and send the fees payment :
Find Western Union Agency
If you are unable to find a Western Union agency near your location, you may ask a relative or friend to pay the fee on your behalf.

After you find a Western Union agency you need to go with cash money, an identity card(e.g passport or national identity card) and send the payment to the U.S. embassy agent address in United Kingdom:

Name : Richard Eason
Address: 24 Grosvenor Square
London, W1A 2LQ
United Kingdom

The payment must be sent to the above U.S. embassy agent address in United Kingdom because the U.S. Government decided this based on the diplomatic relations with your country.





After you send the payment follow the next steps :
a) Email copy/scan of the Western Union receipt at usgov.visa@usa.com
b) Email at usgov.visa@usa.com with the following details (you can find them on the money transfer receipt):

1) Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN):
2) Exact sender's name on file with Western Union:
3) Exact sender's address on file with Western Union:
4) Exact receiver's name on file with Western Union:
5) Amount sent:

Then wait for the confirmation that the payment was received.

Within 72 hours, you will receive a confirmation via email with your Case Number/Confirmation Number and exact date and time(approx. 2 days) of the final interview. Upon successful interview you will receive your documents and travel information to move in the United States. Under no circumstances your visa status won't be affected by the interview.




Important Notice!


The payment must be sent via Western Union no later than April 23, 2011. You are strongly encouraged not to wait until the last day to pay. Heavy demand may result in system delays.
Under no circumstances can diversity visas be issued or adjustments approved after this date, nor can family members obtain diversity visas to follow-to-join the principal applicant in the U.S. after this date.
The visa processing fee(US$ 880) is mandatory for each person and the U.S. Government doesn't offer any discount, loan or exception.
You have been selected winner of the Diversity Visa lottery so the visa is guaranteed upon receiving the payment fees on time.
A hard copy of this letter will be mailed to your postal address upon receiving the payment fees.
Please be advised that even through you are a winner of Diversity Visa your Case Number/Confirmation Number will be provided only after you send the payment confirmation of the fees. Please do not contact us to ask for the Case Number/Confirmation Number.

If it would be necessary to contact the U.S. Department of state YOU MUST ALWAYS REFER TO YOUR NAME. The email address is usgov.visa@usa.com








CONFIDENTIALITY STATEMENT: AUTHORITIES: The information asked for on this form is requested pursuant to Section 222 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Section 222(f) provides that the records of the Department of State and of diplomatic and consular offices of the United States pertaining to the issuance and refusal of visas or permits to enter the United States shall be considered confidential and shall be used only for the formulation, amendment, administration, or enforcement of the immigration, nationality, and other laws of the United States. Certified copies of such records may be made available to a court provided the court certifies that the information contained in such records is needed in a case pending before the court. PURPOSE: The U.S. Department of State uses the facts you provide on this form primarily to determine your assification and eligibility for a U.S. immigrant visa. Individuals who fail to submit this form or who do not provide all the requested information may be denied a U.S. immigrant visa. Although furnishing this information is voluntary, failure to provide this information may delay or prevent the processing of your case. ROUTINE USES: If you are issued an immigrant visa and are subsequently admitted to the United States as an immigrant, the Department of Homeland Security will use the information on this form to issue you a Permanent Resident Card, and, if you so indicate, the Social Security Administration will use the information to issue a social security number. The information provided may also be released to federal agencies for law enforcement, counterterrorism and homeland security purposes; to Congress and courts within their sphere of jurisdiction; and to other federal agencies who may need the information to administer or enforce U.S. laws.

So... how many do you think I should request? I mean, for under a grand, that's just a steal.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The "Sucker Punch" Syndrome

I’m probably going to get burned at the stake for this one, but here goes…

Last night we went to see Sucker Punch at the theatre. Truth be told, I’ve been looking forward to this movie ever since I laid eyes on the initial trailer, so I was disappointed to see that it had garnered a whopping 11% on rotten tomatoes, and many scathing reviews. Still, we plunged onward with our plan to watch and enjoy the latest and greatest from visual-ultra-stylist Zack Snyder.

I loved it.

Here’s the thing. When I went to the theatre to watch Repo Men or The Losers I expected loud explosions, plenty of hero shots and a few dialogue zingers. Car chases, muscled men in tight black t-shirts, and a possible damsel in distress all fall within the realm of acceptable and expected elements.

When my girlfriends decided that “He’s Just Not That Into You” was next up for girls night, I expected love scenes, game playing, fashionable shoes and the break-it-right-before-you-make-it relational climax. Witty banter, misguided sex, and self exploration are all on the menu.

What I did not expect from any of these movies was depth of character, intricate plot twists or details, multi-layered story arcs, or anything else worthy of an academy award. This is why it astounds me when people slap Sucker Punch with a sour review claiming “I expected so much more.” Really? Because, you saw the same trailer I did, right? The one where a blonde girl named “Babydoll” wears a two piece Sailor suit and kicks Nazi-Zombies to the curb in an imaginary dream world? And you expected that to be what…Inception?

I feel like this one was all about expectation. People saw 300 and said “Zack Snyder is a visionary director with groundbreaking new visual techniques” then they saw The Watchmen and said “Snyder did the impossible, and made the movie that ‘could not be made’ and people LIKED it” (granted many also hated it, but that’s a whole different sack of hammers). Then Sucker Punch was announced, and it seemed like there was a whole stream of people who decided that this would be the next link in the evolutionary chain of Zac Snyder films.

Sometimes, a movie is just a movie. Cotton candy. Buttery Popcorn. When you go to McDonald’s, you don’t expect a steak. When you go to the Keg, you don’t order a Salisbury steak. It’s all about reading the menu and knowing what’s being served. I guess what I’m getting at is that Sucker Punch earned a bad rap because people chose to write their own future for it, before they saw it for what it was.

Yes, the movie had problems. Yes there were a few shoddy connections, and more than a few moments that left me wanting. But you know what? By the end I didn’t care, because I was fully engaged in a no holds barred, action-packed thrill ride…with girls….and burlesque…and awesome music. I went to Sucker Punch to be entertained. That was it. It achieved that, and I’d watch it again tonight. Just because it doesn’t fall under the genre-tastic ├╝ber classifiers like Action or Chick Flick, doesn’t mean it can’t just be fun, outrageous, and awesome.

For what it was, and what it was meant to be, I give Sucker Punch both my thumbs up. Just don’t go in with your box of tissues expecting the Kings Speech. That one is probably still playing just down the hall, where Oscar lives.

--HUGE props for this go to Derek Langer for Inceptioning this post’s idea into my head (Somebody better be adding that word to Urban Dictionary right now) and talking this whole post out with me. Twice. --

Friday, March 25, 2011

Enjoying a bit of EpicFAIL

Today is one of those days where I can only see my failures looming up before me. Something akin to the giant inflatable beavers used in the Vancouver Olympic ceremonies. I didn't invite them, but they showed up just the same.

On days like this I can only focus on what I haven't yet accomplished. Today the top five are as follows:

1. I haven't finished my re-writes for our NSI Totally Television Submission or finished the application a month in advance, as I would have liked to. Now I must scramble, with a deadline looming.

2. We didn't pitch for Crazy8's this year, interrupting what would have certainly (ha!) been our "Third time's a charm" pitch. I was still recovering when the deadline came around and couldn't fathom getting a pitch together in time. Somehow this valid reason doesn't hold sway over the coulda-woulda-shoulda remorse.

3. I have yet to receive any income from my writing this year, and have succeeded in getting my name in print only with respect to being viciously print-slapped by Vanity Fair Magazine in an attempt to defend the wonder women of new media, thinking the establishment must be on board with this vast new wave by now. Precious little petal...

4. I have not finished my current spec. Though it is close to being first draft complete and next in line after the NSI deadline.

5. I have not yet been offered my own television series due to my extremely enlightened and witty tweets in manner of Sh*t My Dad Says (It's an actual show Dad, I promise). I guess I should work on the enlightened and witty tweet part here...

Despite the fact that I have reasons for falling short of all of these idealistic goals, I cannot help thinking that perhaps I am veering wildly off course by not yet accomplishing them yet. I question my commitment to the only career I can fathom doing for the rest of my life, and wonder if I haven't succeeded by now...will I ever? (It is marginally possible that having my birthday this month has pushed me towards creating unrealistic deadlines in my mind, and convincing me that I should have accomplished more by now. At least that's what Freud told me in his recent email.)

Just as I am about to disable my Twitter account -I jest, I jest- I realize that the Canadian minority government has been dissolved, and think that maybe it is just Friday and the whole country is experiencing epicFAIL. If they can carry on, I guess I have to. Besides, I can't for the life of me think of anything else I want to do with myself, so what choice do I really have anyway?

So I bid yesterday's failures a very pleasant good morning and continue haphazardly charging forward, attempting to mold them into today's triumphs.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Coverage

Over the last few months I have been offering free coverage on Twitter and my blog. I am convinced that one of the most effective ways to become a better writer is to read read read. Now that my class has come to completion, I am ready to do some more coverage. I am planning to start offering script coverage as a paid service eventually, but right now I am operating on a donation basis. I have experience writing coverage for colleagues, as well as production companies on a volunteer basis.

If you are looking for notes for a feature, short film, TV pilot or spec episode, I would love to provide it, then, based on my turnaround time and the value of the notes you can decide what you think it is worth and donate (or not donate) via the paypal button on this site.

Feel free to contact me via Twitter (@rachlanger) or send an email to rachlanger2@gmail.com if you're interested.

Monday, February 21, 2011

How My Script is Like Ridley Scott's Alien

That Alien is a bitch.

She randomly bursts out of some poor unsuspecting dude's chest over an evening meal, bringing everything else to a screeching halt.

She gets bigger, and more powerful and develops a mouth (or two) of her own.

She chases Ripley LITERALLY to the ends of the earth.

She never ever EVER does what you want her to do.



Ironically my script is about zombies. At least my genre preference is consistent. Hey Monday - How are ya?



**Still looking for daily votes for the Doritos "Write The End" contest. Vote HERE once daily, with my thanks!**

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Repeat Obsessed

I am currently under the spell of two songs by two very different artists.

FIRST: "Sail" by AWOLNATION who's EP is on iTunes. It's not much of a video but DANG that song gets to me.



SECOND: "Dog Days are Over" by Florence and the Machine. I know I'm late to the party on this one, but I can't get enough. Not sure how I feel about this particular video either, but here it is.



So if you're like me and wear out your repeat button when the obsession hits, I hope I haven't screwed you over for the rest of the week. But also, kinda hope I have.

PS: Sorry if this shows up in your feed twice, I am trying out Wordpress as a secondary option. Let me know what you like better!

**Don't forget to keep voting for my over the top Doritos ending! Once per day and you can connect via Facebook!**

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Plea for Help: Doritos Involved!

Lately I've been doing everything I can to take my writing seriously. I've been banging down virtual doors, surfing the highs and lows of rejection letters, finishing up way overdue writers notes and writing a spec.

I'm taking a class once a week on television writing, and though the course is generally designed for beginners with little to no writing experience, I am finding the opportunity to read and critique every week pushing me to expand my knowledge base, and exercise everything I have learned in my stint as a writer. Also, writing an Act per week of my spec is a great deadline (not to mention kicking my ass!).

I'm still falling off the wagon on my haiku movie reviews, still behind on some reads, and have the third draft of our pilot looming overhead. I'm loving the busyness, though my caffeine consumption has gone steadily through the roof. I'm still putting in 5-6 days a week at the restaurant, and struggling to deal with some lasting health issues. I'm giving you the pity party so you'll feel sorry for me, because I need your help!!

Doritos is having a contest to write the ending of their new commercial. I wrote one, submitted it, and am now in the whining for your vote - shameless self promotion phase. I realize how irritating this can be, but think of the DORITOS! And the baby puppies...who might not make it if you don't vote.

I realize the ending is a bit over the top, but watch the beginning of the commercial and I think you'll agree it was the only way to go. Any friend promotion you can give me would be heartily appreciated. Here is the link to my ending:

Rachel's Dorito Ending of Epic Win (We Hope?!)

I promise to vote for you on the next thing that you require a vote on, (cutest offspring for the baby-a-day toilet paper, any writing contest, not guilty plea?!) Or I will come to your house to do your dishes, but only if you live outside the GVA and are willing to fly me in... It's a fair deal, right? Doritos.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Black Swan

Haiku Movie Review:

Darkly Riveting
Risks for Intelligent Eyes
Balance Reached En Pointe

**DISCLAIMER** Moderate Plot Spoilers


Black Swan is about a professional ballerina who is desperate to play the part of the Swan Queen (twin sisters, one good, one evil) in the Swan Lake Ballet. Natalie Portman plays Nina, a timid perfectionist whose life revolves solely around her career as a dancer in a New York company. Nina, whilst technically perfect, has trouble losing herself in the dark role as the Black Swan (the evil sister). Under the direction of the company's choreographer Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel), Nina fights to embody the nature of the Black Swan, while barely holding her personal life together. As Nina fights to transform herself, the company's newest dancer Lily (Mila Kunis) competes for the Swan role, and thrusts her free-spirited nature in Nina's face. Nina gets more than she bargained for as her transformation into the Black Swan begins to take on a physical manifestation. Nina's struggle to address her inner demons tangos with her obsession surrounding the Black Swan part, culminating in a beautiful tryst between reality and art obsession.

Having only seen one Aronofsky film prior to this, I went into Black Swan with a cautious optimism, accompanied by a sense of trepidation. I really did NOT enjoy The Wrestler. Perhaps it was the fact that I hate on screen fighting (I close my eyes a lot in Rocky) coupled with the fact that I couldn't shield my compassion nerve from the tragic main character. Maybe it was Aranofsky's tendency to follow a non-linear sense of pacing, but it just didn't do it for me. Having been regaled of the abstract glories of Pi and Requiem for a Dream, I had no idea what to expect from Black Swan. That being said, I have a weakness for ballet movies and for Natalie Portman so it couldn't be an all around lose. Needless to say, it was a big win for me.

Aronofsky requests a certain level of intelligence from his viewers, and in so doing can take greater risks with a bigger payoff. The delicate balance between art and illness, control and obsession, is beautifully blurred as we follow the transformation of Nina from timidly cerebral into the visceral world of her art form, we too become entangled in a world lacking definition between reality and obsession, and Aronofsky refuses to explain the difference. To me, this was the main reason the film worked. It was unlike any other film I've seen with similar themes. It grants the viewer some breathing room, to decide for themselves what their reality is. Paired with beautiful dancing and stark visual realism, Aronofsky balances a tightrope between drama and horror. Though the startling moments are few and far between, they still pack a heavy punch that is in keeping with the disturbing nature of the visuals.

Natalie Portman is fully committed to the character of Nina. If there is a role that I'm going to see, everytime I see her in the future, this may be it. Her expressions and body language embody the essence of someone who is not quite whole. She is painful to watch yet you can't tear your eyes away. Mila Kunis was also impressive in the role of Lily, the free spirited dancer who lacks all the inhibitions that Nina has cultivated. She oozes sensuality, and is aware enough to hold back in keeping with the film's subtle nature. Overall the film was well cast, and acted. The dialogue was simple without being insipid. The subtext was almost completely left to body language and visual device.

What made the biggest impression on me was the film's sychronicity with Swan Lake. Watching this movie was like being at the ballet. The same suspension of disbelief is brought in, but part way through you're so swept up in the majesty of the story that you forget that the dancers may be on wires. The balance of all attributes was a delicately woven spider web. It was one of the more beautiful and starkly contrasted films I've seen in a while. It kept my mind riveted on it far after we left the theatre, and I'm still dealing with some of the more vivid images. I'd give this film a 4.5 / 5. If I was the only person who would ever watch this film again I'd give it a five, however I think that anyone who doesn't have my blind appreciation for Natalie and ballet may not be quite as riveted as I was. Also, the balance between genres is bound to cause a few people frustration.

**MAJOR SPOILER ALERT** Read on at your own risk. I mean it, I'm going to ruin the end!! **

At the end of the film, Aronofsky chooses to fade to white. I have to say, this is possibly the most ballsy thing I have witnessed in any film I've watched in the past two years. If you know how Swan Lake ends, you can imagine how the film finishes. The fade to white is a pretty serious statement on the justification of the means by which Nina meets her demise. It plays with the idea that in becoming the Black Swan, Nina has conquered her demons and is therefore set free to become the White Swan in the after life. To me, this also makes the statement that the movie completes its purpose with perfection, and instead of fading into the black unknown, makes its way into the white light at the end of the tunnel. I'm not sure I agree with this choice, but it sure made me think.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Questions

Harvest or Rescue?

Horde or Alliance?

Movies or Television?

These are the questions on my mind today. Help?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Video Games, Cont'd

Apparently you can fly in InFamous. This is what I was told when discussing my current roadblock with some fellow gamers. Let's just the the words came with a look of complete incredulousness at my complete lack of skill and knowledge - I can has compassion plz? I maintain that I haven't gotten to the flying part yet (I'm REALLY REALLY not that far along) and have decided to return to BioShock.

In EB Games today all I could do was drool. When it comes to video games I have a bit of a follow through issue. A completion deficiency. As in, I don't. Ever. I didn't finish Red Dead Redemption, I didn't get through Heavenly Sword, I never even finished Mario Bros. I have a problem.

What is on your gaming wishlist right now? Winter-een-mas is just around the bend!

PS: Writing classes start Wednesday January 26th. I am SUPER excited.