Hello! My name is Nadine. I’m a voracious reader, screenwriter, and (aspiring) novelist. I’m also a filmmaker. I love enlightening stories. I adore complex characters. I’ve directed a bunch of shorts and feature-length indie films, all of which have been of mild, lukewarm indie success. Even though I’ve been at this game for over ten years now, I haven’t quite left the runway. I’ve learned to be okay with that. I’ve always chosen the path less traveled. I am not an overnight writing and directing success. I wasn’t born an artistic genius. But before I go down the self-deprecating path of self-doubt, which plagues all writers and filmmakers at some point in their lives, let me tell you what I also definitely am: a hardworking individual with an appetite for making up what she lacks in natural talent through study.
I’ve gotten pretty far that way. I’ve actually made more films than most of my classmates from film school, the prestigious, yet not-all-that, American Film Institute Conservatory. I’ve directed three features since graduating. Not a bad rate, but to give you an idea of how little time that takes out of my overall life, consider the following. A low-budget indie takes about a month to shoot. Prep also takes a month (you can’t afford key crew members to work more than that) and post-production takes a couple more (but on a part-time schedule). I only (read: luckily!) net one film every two to three years, so what I’m left with are thousands of hours that need to be filled creatively on a daily basis. Otherwise, yes, I’d die. I’m no Wunderkind, but creativity is firmly etched into my bones. This is where this blog comes in.
I read and I write. Every single day. This is my way of sharpening my dull instrument in between projects. I observe classic masters and contemporary trailerblazers in each genre to learn where my weak points are. I’m really blessed, because all this “studying” doesn’t even feel like work. It’s my passion. My vocation. I analyze screenwriters’ dialogues and I dissect novelists’ prose. This, fellow book nerds and movie buffs, is what I have to offer to the ether that is the blogosphere.
About the Blog
The Pen and Camera blog features reviews of books that have made – or are about to make – the transition to screenplay and screen. It also highlights books that I think should have no place in theaters and should stay vivid in the imagination of their readers. I give my two cents on screenplays and may point out interesting sections for educational purposes. Occasionally, I sprinkle in a discussion of an actual movie to compare, though this blog is writing-, not filmmaking-centric.
You will find a good amount of memoirs included in my selection of non-fiction books. I find memoirs to be an excellent way of creating profiles for characters based on the type of people I don’t really know. It’s less intrusive and less cumbersome than interviews (though of course, real research requires that of a good writer), and more immersive.
I seek a community of like-minded folks, but The Pen and Camera is not intended only for voracious readers, aspiring writers or filmmakers. In a world that questions science, that intentionally keeps women and people of color from taking a seat at major decision-making tables, in a country that increasingly reads less and cuts budgets for art programs, this blog is a direct push, an act of willful resistance against the powers that be. I am using the few tools I have honed over the years to motivate my fellow neighbors to set aside some time and read a book. Books foster knowledge. Books create power. Books breed empathy.
Here’s to using our voices and to sharing our stories. Thank you for visiting The Pen and Camera.
ps.: I’m an immigrant. English is my third language (besides Vietnamese and German). That ought to buy me a few get-out-of-jail cards on typos and grammatical errors.