MUSINGS OF A STORY MERCHANT

Nancy Nigrosh: An agent's perspective on diversity in Hollywood

Female directors are finding more opportunity in Hollywood, including on TV's "Jessica Jones." Zetna Fuentes, left, Mairzee Almas, Millicent Shelton, Liz Friedlander (seated), Rosemary Rodriguez, Jet Wilkinson. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)


Regarding "Things Are Getting Better for Women Behind the Camera in TV" [March 11]: Kudos to the current crop of prominent showrunners on their commitment "to break old habits" of gender-based bias by influencing their TV studio employers to hire more diverse directors. However, given my 23 years as a literary and talent agent, I was struck by the reference to industry gatekeepers as "typically agents with a tried-and-true Rolodex." Hardly. In my experience, agents have always pushed back on the institutionalized mind-set to exclude women and minority clients.

Without the agent perspective on how hard won the recently open climate truly is, the story is incomplete.


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Steve Alten's MEG Comics!

With a major motion picture coming out this Summer!  The best way to prepare yourself, is to make sure you pickup your copies of Steve Alten's The "MEG" comics.




The comics are currently available for order via comic book stores (www.comicshoplocator.com).



Issue #1 Rough Layouts



  



Feathered Quill Reviews Larry D. Thompson's White Witch

purchase on Amazon.com

Every country has their own legends they pass down through generations, and the original story that starts each legend probably has some truth to it, but over the years the stories change slightly. The country of Jamaica was no exception, and one of their most well known legends was that of the White Witch. The legend says that she was a ruthless sugar plantation owner who lived over 300 years ago.  This White Witch instilled fear in the slaves she owned through cruelty and dark magic. The story goes that she was a priestess who could wield dark magic, and possessed a snake dagger with ruby eyes that she used to kill slaves who disobeyed.  Finally, a brave slave decided it was time to rid the world of this terrible priestess, and he killed her. Unfortunately, he lost his life in the struggle as well, but gave specific instructions to four other slaves on how to bury her body so that her soul would never return from the grave. However, these men were spooked by the recent events and did not follow his instructions, and legend has it because of that the White Witch has been free to haunt the island ever since.

Meanwhile, the slaves began to create a community in the rainforest, calling themselves Maroons. Over the years they fought off the Spaniards and then later fought against the British. Using guerrilla warfare tactics, the Maroons were successful in their efforts and the British began to realize that fighting the Maroons in the jungle was a losing battle for them, and they were not truly interested in the rainforest anyway. A treaty was struck between the Maroons and the British saying that the Maroons owned the land, and they would have control of it for as long as they wish. Now, 300 years later a mining corporation is threatening to build a mine in the middle of this Maroon country, and it may be time to fight for their land once again.

When Will Taylor came to Jamaica he had no idea about the stories surrounding the White Witch legend - he was there to do his job and that was it. He was hired as head security for a large mining company call Global American Metals, and it was his job to make sure all employees of this company stayed safe. With the background of a Navy Seal, he was ideally suited for this job and did it well. However, when he arrived on the island he could not shake the feeling that this job would be much more difficult than originally thought.

His intuition turned out to be right as within a couple days of being there a Global employee was found dead, and it appeared to be no accident, it was murder. Whisperings that the White Witch has returned spread through the island, but Will did not believe in this superstitious talk. He knows there is a living, breathing human who is behind the murder and he plans to discover the truth. As he begins to look for clues, he realizes he is a little out of his element.  Soon another employee is found dead, but still there are no leads on the murderer. Before it is over Will gets some much needed help from a local Maroon and comes face to face with the dagger of the White Witch.

This book put together such a wonderfully entertaining array of characters that I found myself loving every page.  It was more than just a murder mystery - it also had action, superstition, and romance that were all beautifully combined to make a great read.  Author Larry D. Thompson did a wonderful job of bringing the emotions of each character to the forefront, and I felt as if I was right there beside them throughout this story.

Quill says: White Witch combines all of the best things I love about reading!

To learn more about White Witch, please visit the author's website at www.larrydthompson.com

Warner Bros. has released new hi-res stills from The Meg, teasing the terrifying giant shark.






It may seem like the Megalodon might just be too much for the film’s protagonist team to take on. But with Jason Statham playing the lead, fans are looking forward to seeing The Transporter actor battle the gigantic apex predator.
In Empire’s recent issue, Statham shared his excitement in being part of The Meg movie. Moreover, he also seems to be confident about the movie’s ability to pull in the audience.

I mean, who doesn’t want to watch a movie about the biggest shark that’s ever existed? And I get to be in it? This is as good as it gets,” said Statham. The stills below were first shared by Empire magazine.

The Meg Water Ride!

This prehistoric beast sends thrill seekers into a near-vertical, zero gravity experience! Hold on tight as your raft surges up the wall, hangs weightless then drops suddenly swinging into a narrow exit. This attraction will be the largest in the park and will definitely live up to its nickname as “The Meg”.



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The Meg – Exclusive Image From Jason Statham’s Giant Shark Movie



When Bruce first swam into Amity Island for a small bite to eat, it took Chief Brody and co. several days to track the toothy bastard down. What they could have done with is a precision shark-fighting tool: Jason Statham.

Thankfully the Stath is on board to battle another aquatic apex predator for this year’s popcorniest popcorn film. Cinema’s premiere brawny action star is going face-to-face with a gigantic Megalodon (that’s a huge prehistoric shark to you and me) in The Meg — and it could prove the summer’s most exciting showdown. “I mean, who doesn’t want to watch a movie about the biggest shark that’s ever existed? And I get to be in it? This is as good as it gets,” Statham told Empire.

We’ve got a brand new shot of the titular 'don, as seen in the new Summer Movie Blowout issue of Empire which hits shelves later this week.

3 Things Every Great Story Has To Have by Dr. Ken Atchity



Film Courage: What three things does a great story have to have?

Dr. Ken Atchity, Author, Publisher, Producer: What three things? Well, it has to have a hook that gets people instantly involved in the story and that’s a huge part of the story itself. And it’s got to have a very strong character in the story that you care about and other than that, it has to have twists and turns that lead to a surprise ending. If I had to just say three things, I guess that’s what I would say the three things are. Every story needs that because a story about nothing is not going to hold anyone’s interest.

And sometimes writers when they begin their careers think that if they just write, they can write about anything but the truth is they need to write from their heart about things that matter to everyone and if they do that, you can hardly go wrong. Because stories are really not about words or word choice or anything like that. They’re about conveying the power of a character facing a dilemma that you have no idea how he or she will resolve and when you do that you’ve got everyone’s attention.

And in ancient times there was a thing called The Oral Tradition which I used to teach as a professor of Homeric Greek. The Iliad and the Odyssey were sung at campfires and everyone in the culture knew the stories. We are publishing a book right now on Homeric song and how it worked and how it held culture together. And my first book those…I call those stories the shield of memory and it was because of those stories that a person knew how to deal with himself in battle or when facing an attacking boar or when facing an angry wife or when facing pillagers trying to burn down his village. He would instantly think of the story of Heracles who did this or that or the story of Aegean who did this and that and that’s all they had. They didn’t have books for learning. It was all passed along through the oral tradition. And I think stories have never failed to play that role in human life and when you think about it you know “What’s your story?” is probably the most human response to any encounter and it goes from the court of law where the jury is trying to decide which of the two stories do they believe, to a political campaign where the voters are making that decision, to a first date where you are going “Do I believe his story? I just don’t believe it? I can’t buy his story?”  That’s the ultimate human turn down, you can’t buy the story. And it goes through everything. Advertising is conveying stories that people will want to buy the product. This is how humans operate on a daily basis so to me it’s absolutely amazing that an industry has been created where people will pay millions of dollars for stories and where stories can basically conquer the world and I believe unite the world.

I mean look at all the work we are now doing with China in the movie business. I just saw Lara Croft in Tomb Raider (the new version of it) where the male lead is Chinese and she is Western and clearly as a producer I’m watching it going “This was a Chinese financed movie,” because I understand how it works for the market…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).