Friday, March 20, 2015

Mr. Turner: Movie Thoughts

SYNOPSIS: A look at the last quarter century of the great British painter J. M. W. Turner. Profoundly affected by the death of his esteemed father, loved by his housekeeper, Hannah Danby, whom he takes for granted and occasionally exploits sexually, he forms a close and loving relationship with a seaside landlady with whom he eventually lives incognito in Chelsea, where he dies.

Throughout all this, Turner travels, paints, stays with the country aristocracy, visits a brothel, is a popular if anarchic member of the Royal Academy of Arts, has himself strapped to the mast of a ship so that he can paint a snowstorm, and is both celebrated and reviled by the public and by royalty.

MY THOUGHTS: So here's a movie you've never heard of. Unless you watch my daily vlog, then you basically know what this is going to be about.
Otherwise, here we go.

For the record, that is the official synopsis above. Rather spoilery isn't it? Had I read that before seeing the movie, I might not have gone. The trailer, however, painted (Haha, coincidental pun) a more upbeat story. Don't misunderstand me, we weren't fooled.

The filmed earned several awards for things like Best Costume Design and Best Set Design. This is a pretty big clincher that the movie will be overly artsy. Artsy films end with the death of the protagonist about 80% of the time. Critics love these sort of movies and normal folk, like me, don't. As proven by this: "Mr. Turner has a "certified fresh" score of 98% on Rotten Tomatoes based on critic reviews, but a score of only 59% based on audience reviews."

But before you think this post is one big "I hated Mr. Turner" bash, just hold on. I appreciated Mr. Turner. It deserved every award it got. The acting was good and interesting. The scenery was stunning. Blew my mind a few times. I laughed a few times and felt for some of the characters.

The big flaw was in post production, I would say. The story had no point. I walked out of it feeling nothing. Much of the story was disjointed and didn't make much sense. Characters lived and died, and I didn't really care. The music was horrid. Oh, it was bad. During scenes with beautiful landscapes the music was like that from a slasher film. Yes, it was that bad.

I would say the part I liked best about the movie was how they captured the nature of an artist. I may not be a painter, but as a writer I related. His life was his work. He based everything around it, just as I do. I appreciated these moments more than anything.

Oh, I'd also like to give big props to the cinematography. There were a few scenes that were just masterful. It was like a stage play at times. But the camera flowed through the scene and everyone had to be on point when the camera came to them. Then the scene ended and you wanted to applaud them for doing so much in a single take. Those scenes, I will remember best.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I would not recommend Mr. Turner. Unless most of the
stuff I hated sounded good to you, then have at it. To everyone else, I say to avoid it. If it's a cleaning day and you find it on TV, then put it on. Let the beautiful scenery flash across the screen while you vacuum. You might enjoy it.

Thanks for reading. <3 -Lindsay Mead

Watch my vlog from the day we saw Mr. Turner.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Why An Author Should Be A YouTuber

I was recently asked by completelynovel.com to write a guest post about how to become a vlogger when you're an author. I loved this idea, but I didn't want to just write a how-to tutorial. Especially when starting a youtube channel is pretty self explanatory. Instead I wanted to tell why I think it's so important for an author to also be a youtuber. So I did :)

Below you'll find the entire article, but here is the original blog post: http://bit.ly/1wW02ak

Why Authors Should Be YouTubers – by Lindsay Mead

I know. I know. You’re thinking that YouTube is only for cats and fail videos, and you’re probably wondering what a “YouTuber” is. Well, let me grab your attention by pointing out that John Green is a YouTuber. Yup, the John Green.
John Green is smart. In 2007, He co-founded a YouTube channel called, VlogBrothers, with his
brother, Hank Green. Once a week they would each make a video about some random topic. They rolled into Youtube stardom pretty steadily, hitting 1 million subscribers in 2013.

Vlogging to market books
Now, if you’re wondering what this has to do with being an author, please let me smack you upside the head with this sign that reads, “Marketing!”. John is an amazing writer, but his success is largely tied into his success on YouTube. I found the VlogBrothers back in 2007 and have been an avid watcher. John’s writing regularly came up in their videos. John committed to signing every single pre-order copy of Fault In Our Stars, and put a big thermometer drawing up in his background to track the number of copies he signed. He signed whilst he was filming! Needless to say, the pre-orders poured in.

John Green is not the only Author/YouTuber out there either. Jackson Pierce boasts an impressive 13,000 subscribers and over 2,000,000 views. Then there’s K.C. HiltonLindsay CummingsKaleb NationEpic Reads (Owned by HarperCollins Publishers) showcasing a cast of their YA Authors, and I’m sure there are many other authors-turned-YouTubers that I don’t yet know about. Not to mention the rise in YouTubers-turned-authors. These people have all figured out what an amazing tool YouTube is for reaching new readers, and how your readership and your viewership can play off one another.

Build a dedicated fanbase
I know I’ve thrown a lot of big numbers at you and you might be thinking this is your key to getting rich. You’re wrong. You might be that rare phenomenon that is just going to blow up on your first video and no one will know where you came from. Most likely though, you’ll be like me.
I started making videos in 2007. It was a rocky start with a really bad camera. There were a lot of ups and downs, and many years where I struggled to figure out what kind of YouTuber I wanted to be. As author channel and just over 300 on my daily vlog channel (a channel being the home for all of your videos). Compared to the aforementioned people, that might not seem like a lot. But I do have a loyal fan base. Many share and comment everyday. They tell me all the time how excited they are for my debut novel, The Beast. I had a successful crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, which covered my publishing costs, because of them. These are people from all over the US, UK, and even one in Taiwan. I haven’t met them face to face. Many have never read anything I’ve written. Yet most of them pre-ordered my book during my campaign!
I stand now, I have 1,300 subscribers on my 
My subscriber numbers steadily climb each week. I have no doubt that my YouTube fans will support my writing career. Because of that, my books will reach new people and those people might subscribe to my YouTube channel.
It should be said that If I’m completely wrong, I will still post videos. Just like I will still write books, even if they never sell. I do it because I love it. YouTube, like writing, is a commitment. You’ll never succeed if you don’t love doing it.

Top tips for authors ready to become YouTubers

1. Pick your name wisely. You can change your display name, but you can’t change your username. This only matters if you pick a name like, ButtUgly222. Your display name may be John Smith, but your URL will still be youtube.com/buttugly222. No one wants to click that.
2. Make videos that you love. You don’t have to talk about books. I make daily videos about my daily life and I love doing that way more than when I posted two videos a week talking about what books I bought. You gotta do what you love. If you don’t, then you won’t do it when people aren’t watching.
3. “Don’t let the praise go to your head or the hate go to your heart.” – Michael Buckley, a
very awesome YouTuber. Haters will hate and trolls will troll. Expect them, because they will come. They will be cruel. There is only one way to respond: Delete and block. Do not engage. Grow a thick skin, then reply to every person who says something nice about your video.
4. Post consistently. Whether it’s everyday or twice a week, get on a schedule and keep it. Consistency makes the viewer base go up. Inconsistency makes it go down.
5. Link to everything you do in your video description. Don’t make people search. Always keep them one click away from what they desire, especially your books!
6. Watch other YouTubers. It’s a massive community. Find channels like yours and channels that aren’t. This will help you develop your own style and create connections.

And that’s it. That’s all you really need to know about starting a YouTube channel. So get at it, have fun, and make friends!


Hope you enjoyed my article. Thanks for reading <3 -Lindsay Mead



Monday, March 16, 2015

It Is Done...Again.

So here's how writing a book goes... You start off with this great idea, or more like the seedling of an idea. It gets planted in your squishy, pink brain and it stays there. It drives you mad! So you know you have to get it out and the only way to do that is to write the story.

Except that there's a disclaimer on this little seed that you don't see. The disclaimer states that if you try to remove this seed, it will start to grow. It will get bigger and bigger--fuller and fuller!

Before you know it, you've got this full blown tree in your head. I mean, the thing is massive. It reaches from one end of your skull to the other. Its branches contain characters, backstories, cities, and even whole worlds. You can't write just one book to get it out; you have to write three, four, five, or possibly more!

So you toil and fight. You spend whole months of your life trying to make this tree into a story. Finally, by some will of god, you reach the end of the first book. It was by no means easy, but it sure was exhausting--and oh so worth it.

It's the best feeling of your life!

But you love this story so much that you want others to experience it too, which means that you have to clean it up. Edit. Edit. Then edit some more. You even muster a small army to help you complete this task. They take their cruel, but effective, axes to it and begin chopping away.

At some point they hand you back a few trash bags filled with wood shavings. You cry and rage at the sky for a few days. The horror! THE HORROR! But by the end of day three, you grab those trash bags, dump out the wood shavings, and begin piecing it together again.

Rebuilding the story doesn't take quite as long this time, but it's an emotional rollercoaster. You learn to let go. Very slowly this seedling, that you turned into a tree (Or I suppose it's just a branch of the tree, if I want this analogy to work), becomes a book.

Anyway, Somehow you love it even more the second time around. Ok you also hate it a little bit because you're so sick of looking at it, but you love it.

Then, yet again, you must send it off to your army...and wait. This is where I am at. The horrible stage where you have to wait to hear if your revisions were good or if you botched the whole dang thing.

I've chosen not to sit idle and worry. I've moved onto the second book. That's a
whole barrel of new awesome. Not even gunna lie. I suppose it's daunting for some to have to start all over again, but this is the fun part for me.

So this blog post was suppose to be about finishing my first book for the second time, and it kinda wasn't. It was mostly about the writing process, wasn't it? Or perhaps it was really more about the progression of writing. An author must perpetually move forward. It's about making the book better, getting it to the next stage.

I'd imagine that some people think that when The Beast is published (*cough*April9th*cough*Maybe*cough*), I'll be able to sit back and bask in the glory of my finished book. But they are so wrong! Members of my editing army are already asking for the second book. How long after it's published will it take for readers to start asking the same?

So... An author must perpetually move forward.

Thanks for reading <3 -Lindsay Mead