Tag Archive: chicago

Prep Underway for Thirty Decibels Book Trailer

Before I get into the update – Chicago folks, we need your help!
We’d like to shoot early to mid-September and we need: 1) A choir rehearsal space, either in a school or church or theater, for a few hours; 2) A library for a few hours (bookstore may also work); 3) A high-school age choir group. These choir and library shots are very important to the trailer. So please get in touch if you know of any resources!

Lately, I’ve been working behind the scenes with Chicago’s Palinopsia Studio to prep for our Thirty Decibels book trailer shoot – finalizing storyboards, discussing wardrobe and props, and securing locations – all leading up to the upcoming shoot.

Thirty Decibels storyboard, showing main character Ava in the library: the only place Whisperers hold authority

Thirty Decibels storyboard, showing high-powered politico villain, CityLeader Frankel, using his full volume

Wardrobe will take on a post-cultural layering theme.

Main character Ava's vest, to be paired with a white hoodie.

Short films are such a blast to work on. I have a little previous experience to draw from…

From 2000-2002, I worked for a large Chicago ad agency, Ogilvy & Mather. My main clients were Sears, Kenmore, Suave, and Dove – and I was lucky enough to art direct several TV spots. Basically, that means I helped create the “story” behind each commercial, helped cast the actors, and worked with the director, propmasters, effects artists, and editors to make sure that story idea came across effectively. After stepping foot on that first film set and seeing how efficiently film professionals could create a story from thin air, I was hooked.

In 2002-2003, I worked on the sets of a few short films: I was a set dresser for graduate student Rae Shaw’s film Soap and Roses, which earned the attention of film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum (here’s the unofficial review, and a sample scene); I was a PA (production assistant) / actor in a hilarious horror-comedy called Skunk Ape!? , which appeared in the Tromadance film festival (here’s my take); and a PA / actor in an adaptation of the rather talented Chicago author Joe Meno‘s I Was a Mathlete Until I Met Margo Marriswhich appeared in the Chicago International film festival, Tribeca film festival, and Dances with Films(Click the title to see the whole film. I’m not Margo Marris, but I have a fun cameo.)

I have such a soft spot for filmmaking – for the collaboration of skill, passion, wit, and elbow grease from everyone involved. And I’m so excited to be a part of that tradition again.

I look forward to posting our progress here as we go.
If there’s anything specific you’d like to see, or if you have any questions for myself or the director, fire them away below! We’d love to hear from you.

Lights, camera, Thirty Decibels

The book trailer for Thirty Decibels is nearly in production! I’m partnering with local imaging / production studio Palinopsia to create it. Stay tuned for behind-the-scenes updates and interviews as we go.

We’re now casting these lead roles:

Main character
Age: 15 (ages 13-17 will be considered)
Any hair color

Ava’s love interest
Age: 16 (ages 15-18 will be considered)
Athletic build, any hair color

Ava’s best friend
Age: 15 (ages 13-17 will be considered)
Any hair color

Screen tests:

When: Saturday and Sunday, June 25th and 26th, 2pm-4pm (Contact me to RSVP – see below)
Where: 200 W. Superior Street, Suite 310  (See map)
Have: Your enthusiasm for bringing stories to life

Interested actors should write me at margorowder@gmail.com or call 773.689.0008 to get an appointment time.

What’s Thirty Decibels? Here’s a super-short version:

In a society where few may speak above a whisper, 15-year-old singer Ava refuses to talk – and discovers the strength to take a stand.
(See link below for more.) 

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Win a free advance copy (ARC) of Divergent by Veronica Roth!

I can’t remember reading a book faster.

That’s my seven-word review of Divergent. I missed my train stop while reading it. Oh, hey! There’s my eight-word version.

In Divergent, author Veronica Roth deftly plunges you into a future Chicago. A dystopian Chicago, where sixteen-year-old kids must pick one of five factions to belong to for life. Where faction ties are stronger than blood, and unrest between factions has begun to knock them off-kilter. Where, after learning in an “aptitude test” that she’s a wee bit unusual, protagonist Beatrice Prior makes a choice that surprises even her.

Hooked already, no? Okay, well, you’ll sense almost immediately that Ms. Roth is a true devotee of sci-fi goodness. She draws from a little Ender’s Game, a little Giver, and a whole lot of originality. I’ve even heard talk of Divergent hitting the big screen.

I’m highly impressed with Veronica Roth’s debut novel, and I’ll keep an eye on her work, starting with the complete Divergent trilogy.

Want an advance copy of Divergent before it comes out next month?

Comment below by Wednesday, April 27 and you could win! I’ll use random.org to pick a winner.

In Stead’s Head

Friday evening is still with me.

That’s when I attended a discussion at 57th Street Books, organized by the Hyde Park network of SCBWI. (It’s an acronym you’ll see here often, and it translates to the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators.)

The event featured Rebecca Stead, author of When You Reach Me, and her editor Wendy Lamb (of Wendy Lamb Books, an imprint of Random House). I was nervous. Why was I nervous? I’d read the book, so I was ready for any potential pop-quizzes. Maybe it was the John Newbery Medal that the book just won. It could just be that the book was amazing, and to be in the room was to feel like a “smart 10-year-old” again. (Stead and Lamb joked that this particular “demographic” was the ultimate test of WYRM‘s internal logic. Lamb added that she still doesn’t “get” it!)

The discussion was varied and entertaining in itself. Preteens and adults alike raised their hands, and Ms. Stead answered every question with the same openness and honesty as the one before. This is what’s still with me: Her willingness to let us into her head, to walk around for a little while. She signed the children’s copies of the book first, taking time with each young fan to answer questions and just talk. In my copy, she signed a “note” to my son Archer, because I can’t wait until the book “reaches” him. We also talked very briefly about the business. I shared what little experience I’ve had (which has been interesting), and I completely felt like she understood. She said “Well then, keep going!” and her written note in my new copy of First Light says the same.

There are little quips about being human in When You Reach Me that I never expected to find reflected in a page of print. And in real life, she’s just like that. She admitted, “I never liked book groups,” explaining that the experience of a book is so personal and the emotions were too big to talk about. As she explained this feeling she’d had as a kid, I went right back to my childhood and felt it, too.

A writer has to be brave enough to write honestly, even if it means saying something new. It can be scary to be original. Maybe the nerves mean we’re doing something right.

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