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My dramatic feature script, “Sand Devils”

March 7, 2016

My dramatic feature screenplay, “Sand Devils” is now a Finalist at the 2016 Nashville Film Festival. I’m really grateful to know this redemptive story, set among Dinka refugees in Sudan, is touching some hearts. They had over 1600 entries in total this year, so I feel very honored to be among the 8 dramatic feature screenplay finalists.

NFF 2016 logo


Storytelling 101 – Why one version works and the other does not.

January 29, 2016

I saw this short animated film today from a Facebook share. It’s called “The Present” and it has won a bazillion awards at film festivals. It’s touching, simple, visual, emotional – all of the things we know makes an idea “stick.” The comments in Vimeo and on FB posts are pretty uniformly positive. It’s definitely worth a viewing.

The Present from Jacob Frey on Vimeo.

Now, for a comparison.

Facebook is so helpful to give us the “people also shared” links on this stuff, so we can sometimes stumble on other interesting items (anything to keep us swiping and clicking.)

So, I took the bait and clicked on this link:

It’s a comic version of the exact same story. For some reason, it doesn’t affect me the same way as the short film. From looking at the comments (language-warning), it doesn’t have the same effect on readers either. Just a different audience?

I’d suggest it’s a radically different visual and storytelling style. It’s graphic, static, and less warm-and-fuzzy, for sure. Also, notice that, in contrast to the film version, the story is told through dialogue – especially the boy’s feelings toward the dog. What was left shown and un-said in the film was expressed definitely and very on-the-nose.

What other differences do you see? Think about the difference in the impact of each version and think about what you can learn.

(Note, this comic is just a clipping and not the whole comic. Click on the link above to see the whole thing.)

3-legged dog



Don’t be afraid. Get to the roots of your story

July 31, 2014

Don’t be afraid. Get to the roots of that draft so you can see how it wants to grow. #screenwriting

These are my index cards with every scene in the second draft of a screenplay I'm working on.

These are my index cards with every scene in the second draft of a screenplay I’m working on.

Lightfield photography – inviting viewers to touch your pictures

April 4, 2014

I’m a filmmaker and photographer. As such, I’m a sucker for gadgets and new technologies.

The idea of “lightfield” photographs that capture light in multiple dimensions (a very inadequate technical description) is intriguing to me. The basic deal is that you can share photographs that can be refocused by a viewer to reveal different parts of an image.

I just bought a Lytro camera and am now hooked on thinking of ways to tell interesting visual stories in single frames. Here’s one of my first attempts, a simple image of a couple of figurines my wife collects of mothers and children.

You can click on the image to shift the focus point. You can also click and drag on the image and it shows a tiny perspective shift. Kinda cool.

Streaming video to mobiles with very lim

May 13, 2013

Streaming video to mobiles with very limited bandwidth? Looking at Africa. #mobmin

“She looked for love, and then…” – New Web Clip

April 26, 2013

In a place where young people aren’t allowed to meet face-to-face, relationships can be risky. I just finished this new web clip for Arab World Media. It’s a light-hearted, cautionary tale about ‘phone dating.’

Here’s a link to one of the Arabic-language pages where it’s embedded at

Or, you can watch the English version here:

“She looked for love, and then…” — English version from Tom Khazoyan on Vimeo.

Won’t you take the time to listen to th

March 1, 2013

Won’t you take the time to listen to the Yanomamö themselves, instead of anthropologists? #yanomami #chagnon