Wednesday, December 16, 2015

EXTRAORDINARY DOCUMENTARY FEATURE


A film that will forever change the way you understand 
what a documentary film is and what it can do.

Nominated for Best Feature Documentary
2015 Cutting Edge Film Festival

Watch it HERE and VOTE

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


I'm still surprised to discover how many beginning writers are dramatically blind to the physical world. They have concerns, issues, memories, and vague feelings about society, but when they write what usually comes out is stale cliche. Typically, they “see” things in one of three ways: "artistically", deliberately, or not at all. Those who see artistically decorate their descriptions, turning them into a kind of poetic prose: the winter trees immediately become “old men with snow on their shoulders,” or the lake looks like a “giant eye.” The ones that see deliberately go on and on describing a brass lamp by the bed with painful exactness. To write because one wants to write is natural, but to learn to see is a blessing, and one has to work at it, which means one has to care about what you're looking at. The art of finding story is the art of marrying the sacred to the world, the invisible to the visible. We see through stories in order to find other stories.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

ONE MORE DAY


The world is full of drama, and dramatic stories remind us what it means to be human. They call to mind the horror and desperate hopes of creatures afraid of death, who are nevertheless willing to risk everything for what they love. Life is, after all, an unexpected battleground, where the enemy is constantly surprising us with what we weren't looking for. The horrors - the horrors of our own making and unmaking. Why do we fight? To stay alive - spiritually alive - and to help those that we care for to stay alive as well. What else is worth fighting for? Not jobs, not money, not reputation, but to keep the fire burning, the courage to make it through one more day.


"Think how many, by now, have escaped the world’s memory."
— Keith Waldrop
Every culture, every tribe, has its origin myths, its stories about how the universe came to be what it is, how it was formed and how Earth became earth with its creatures and all their transformative dramas. What is not commonly appreciated is that every individual also has his/her own origin mythology, a collection of secret/sacred stories that shelter in the unconscious. The impulse to understand one's origins, one's essence, the source of one's being, is no more prevalent than in the stories one tells and embraces. 

- Billy Marshall Stoneking


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

SELF-MEDICATED - a film by Ethan Minsker

Trailer: Self Medicated: a film about art from Ethan H. Minsker on Vimeo.

THE MUSICK BIZZNESS

 The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.
— Hunter S. Thompson

THE GREATEST STORY NEVER TOLD

There is a debilitating attitude, mostly unconscious, that operates in the psyches of many would-be screenwriters, that works to stifle or otherwise undermine the quality and vividness of the emotional energy and potential buried within the lives of the characters whose story is being told. Frequently dismissed as laziness, the undermining attitude is predicated on two, complementary sets of feelings concerning what is being written. On the one hand, there is “the careful fear”, which manifests as a conserving anxiety, the fundamental purpose of which is to protect the writer from unnecessary, personal exposure by maintaining and preserving a suitable emotional distance from the characters and the story’s subject. On the other hand, there is the writer’s blind and stubborn loyalty to a host of powerful albeit irrelevant assumptions, prejudices, and habits of thought (beliefs) concerning what one is doing, including one’s perceptions concerning the significance of what is being presented. Mostly, writers work within the boundaries created by these two inclinations, tirelessly striving to get the balance right. Alas, it is mostly a waste of time. One’s proclivity to “be safe” whilst maintaining a steadfast devotion to one’s belief in oneself, render the possibility of balance nearly impossible. The writer and the story would be much better served if they simply forgot about being safe and gave up every ambition for writing the greatest story never told.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

THE MOST VISIBLE & POWERFUL ASPECT OF THE EMOTIONAL LIFE OF THE CHARACTERS IS INVISIBLE


No character is fully realised until we are able to imaginatively grasp what is unrealised in them. This cannot – for either the writer or the audience - be negotiated solely in terms of the intellect; It is contextual and sub-textual, and is - most profoundly - grasped emotionally, as one enters into those “spaces” that film can neither show nor tell but only suggest. The incompleteness of the characters meets our incompleteness and together – in our relationship with them, something more complete emerges. Their contradictions call out to our contradictions; their imperfections resonate with our own. Together, creatively, we strive to realise a truth that is framed in a story and conveyed by actions funded by the emotional energies that are present. It the exchange we are called upon to enlarge whatever judgements we are inclined to make about who and what they are or might be, as well as who and what we might be.


Billy Marshall Stoneking


AUDIENCE : THE REAL THREAT


 As a screenwriter - if you are completely honest with yourself - you can’t help but admit that your greatest threat is the audience, where audience is not understood as a demographic category but as a character outside the script to whom the story is addressed.  A good part of the drama necessary for uncovering the story resides in the conflict between the storyteller and his/her audience. Audience plays the part of antagonist to the writer’s role as protagonist. The writer drives the action, which is forever complicated, frustrated and undermined by the audience’s needs and sensibilities. Audience wants you to prove it. Audience has a chip on its shoulder, and doesn’t give a damn. Audience has been there and done that in the guise of your mother, your father, your ex-, your worst enemy. Audience laughs at your stupidity and dares you to change its view of you and the story world that you would have it care about.  Audience is defiant. It has your number. The only way you can defeat it is by carrying a bigger stick - your only defence is an inspired offence, namely the story.

- Billy Marshall Stoneking

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


I often speak of cinema as “the art of the invisible”, for it works best when it employs the 'grammar' in such a way as to allow the logic to imply emotions, thoughts and drives that are never literally stated or shown. In allowing the audience the space to act (i.e.: co-create the vision out of the subtext) the story produces that quality of meaning that we refer to as an experience.

- Billy Marshall Stoneking



Sunday, November 1, 2015

CAMPFIRE AT TJUKULA













The foot of the wedge-tail eagle
presses against the sky, littered with
spears.  The night is so clear you can
hear the Seven Sisters scream
in the dark, chased by that Old Man,
by that greedy one who
would take them all for wives.
In Scorpio, two lovers unable to separate,
run for their lives,  pursued by Waputju –
the girl’s father – & by the guardian
of the circumcision ceremony.
The boomerang flying to kill them
explodes in a cloud of tears.
Old Tutama prods the fire with his stick
& waits for my reply.
“Whitefella way, different way,”
I tell him.  Stories of Black Holes,
Schrödinger’s cat, the Big Bang,
one hundred eighty-six
thousand miles per second…
“You see that star?” I say.
“It might’ve blown up before
you were born, but its light
is still coming towards us.”
Tutama reaches for a lump
of bush tobacco behind his ear,
rolls it quietly between dry palms.
Skin warm, stomach full,
not wanting to disturb the universe,
he accepts what I say
with the dignity of a man
who understands how a whitefella
will tell you almost anything.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

THE PLACE WHERE KARMA ORIGINATED
















The sign outside the monastery reads:
“Near this spot, karma first entered the world.”
Beside it, a small slot in a wooden box
painted white with “DONATIONS”
scrawled across the top in red letters.

The cobbled track between the stalls & shops
is treacherous & steep, 
a maze of muddy potholes & cliffs,
karma’s answer to ‘tourist traps’ –
a holy obstacle course 

for the pressed & dressed 
& impeccably plain,  coming & going
outside the money exchange,
where dogs & beggars compete
with American Express in 15 languages,
& lunch is a handful of flies
next to an old woman working her fan,
frowning over a brazier whose coals are eyes.

When they’ve discovered I’ve been
to the edge,
to the place where karma originated,
they’ll want to know why
what it was like,  so I’ll tell them:
as payment for my crime,
of ignorance & desire,  of time –
a memory of footprints,
in my village of heads & hands
grasping for change,  like all those other places
where karma originated:
a street corner, a familiar smell,
a fall from grace,  
every beggar an answer,  meting out
an earned revenge.
All places are recognisable in time.

Outside the place where karma originated,
I ask someone if they’ll take my picture
as a kind of souvenir, something to see,
evidence I was here,
or there,  or anywhere.
They hold my camera upside-down
as if to dare the logic from its cage.
No smile. No cheese.
The shutter shudders,
the light burns in
& the smallest part of me escapes
into the prison through which
we all must pass in order to be free.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

ATTENTION SYDNEYSIDERS


A DOCUMENTARY FILM THAT WILL CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK AND FEEL ABOUT WHAT DOCUMENTARY FILM-MAKING MEANS AND WHAT IT CAN DO.
"Once, again, you have shaken my core. You've reminded me of how honored I always felt to absorb your being. You are definitely the truest artist-creature I have ever known. There was not a single second of this film in which I was able to "relax." I didn't want to miss a word or an image. Congrats to all involved in the making of this masterpiece (especially the STAR). Seeing you, hearing you, reuniting with your art and remembering a grand moment from my past has been an exhilarating experience for me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
- Lenny Kislin, Artist, Bearsville, NY

Saturday, October 17, 2015

THE AUDIENCE vs THE PUBLIC


There is a difference between 'the public' and 'the audience'. The public is the passive realm of the removed spectator that will, on any whim, hang you one day and resurrect you the next. To believe in the public and their mutable tastes out of some misguided effort to enlist their approval is to surrender your power as a writer, to surrender your integrity and the suppleness necessary for nourishing your best dreams.
'Audience', on the other hand, is an act of the imagination, a creative act in which the writer/artist temporarily sets aside, or steps away from, his/her egocentric needs and anxieties to take up another vantage point from which to view what he/she is writing. It is not a demographic so much as a contrasting perspective that is fundamentally in conflict with the sentiment of the story. Audience must always play adversary/antagonist to the writer's protagonist, not the protagonist IN the story but the writer-as-protagonist. Audience is the necessary goad that assiduously asks for more evidence, more proof, for what the writer is asking it to feel.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

SEEING THE ELEPHANT

SEEING THE ELEPHANT - Official Trailer





A multi-plot coming-of-age story in which seven culturally diverse individuals, striving to realize their dreams, discover that the road to 'the good life' is paved with detours, pitfalls and unexpected revelations. 




Wednesday, September 30, 2015

STORY IS AN ENVIRONMENT


Dramatic stories are environments in which storytellers, characters, audiences and tribes meet and address one another within the context of a narrative founded upon the purposeful actions and interactions of characters rooted in a tribally based and emotionally charged logic that operates by way of cause and effect. The logic presumes a set of identifiable circumstances that provide the contextual basis for the characters’ actions. Stanislavsky referred to these as “the given circumstances” – the totality of necessary assumptions a dramatist makes concerning the world that the characters inhabit. One cannot hope to enter the drama so long as one refuses to enter into a relationship with the environments that define and condition the scope and value of every character’s actions.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Thursday, August 27, 2015

ALL DRAMATIC STORIES ARE, BY DEFINITION, TRIBAL STORIES


Given the complexity of the modern world, it is not surprising that an inexperienced, unfocused storyteller may be psychologically if not spiritually crippled or fragmented by competing allegiances and claims made upon him or her by seemingly incompatible tribal associations. It might even be the case that the fledgling storyteller will be completely unaware of his or her tribal affiliations, or not cognizant of how his or her tribal connections impact and give meaning to the story that is being found. Nevertheless, all successful and truly dramatic stories are, by definition, tribal. Indeed, it is inevitable that the tribe with its complex customs, attitudes, laws, and traditions, will inform one pole or bias of the circumstances that stimulate and compound the tension that compels a dramatic character to be or not to be, just as it does the storyteller. Recognising and embracing one’s tribal identity is, therefore, essential to any storyteller in pursuit of meaningful relationships with authentic dramatic characters.

- Billy Marshall Stoneking



PLEASE NOTE !!!   HERETIC will have a special screening at The Shop Gallery, 
112 Glebe Point Road, Glebe NSW (Sydney) Australia on Saturday, 7th November  at 7:30 pm. 
Q & A with the directors following the film. Put it on your calendar.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

LOVE AMONG THE RUINS























Now showing at

The Screening Room - WHERE'S THE DRAMA?


An aging actress being sued for breach of promise hires as her lawyer 
a man who was an ex-lover and is still in love with her, although she 
doesn't know it. 

Starring Katharine Hepburn,  Laurence Olivier and Colin Blakely; 
original screenplay by James Costigan; directed by George Cukor 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

THE NEXT GENERATION INDIE FILM FESTIVAL


iHolly: The Next Generation Independent Film Festival

Creating Opportunities with Awards:
A Greenlight for your Screenplay!
Distribution for your Film!
And a $1,000 Cash Prize!
Connecting the Indie Filmmakers and Film Students with a panel of Expert and Celebrity Judges all Working in the Indie CommunityREAD MORE

Friday, July 17, 2015

LIVE THE STORY, LEARN THE STORY, LOVE THE STORY


“As a dramatic writer you have to pay for everything you write - in other words, you have to earn the right to write it, to make it your own, to have the confidence to let it go and know that it has a life of its own.

“Michael Schilf talks about writing what you LIVE, LEARN and LOVE. Fact is, you are already living and learning, and (it is hoped) loving something or someone, so it’s all there, right at your fingertips, right? Wrong. I can’t tell you how many wannabe writers have told me that their problem is they have nothing to write about, and when I tell them to look at their own lives they say, “but that’s me, I’m boring, no one would want to read about anything I’ve experienced”, meaning that they don’t value the life they have lived, have learned nothing from the journey they have made so far, and refuse to embrace and spread the love that has made it all vivid, challenging and bearable.  In short, they resort to the knee-jerk cop-out routine. Why? Because there’s nothing more frightening than yourself, specially the parts of your self that you’ve worked so hard to camouflage with noise, verbal and gestural.  Writing a sitcom script, weirdly enough, is about reducing or even transcending the noise, or even - sometimes - using it in a clever way to reveal an anxiety that is characteristic of the character.   You can think about it - and even talk about it - all day, all week, all month, forever, but you’ll never get anywhere if its just talking and thinking. You have to grapple with the demon. One of the things that I’ve been re-learning doing THE CREATIVE LIFE is the importance of going back and back and back - over the material - the big print, the dialogue, combing through it and crossing stuff out. Allowing my voice to gradually be overtaken by the voices of the characters. In comedy writing, that old truism, LESS IS MORE, is a kind of ultimate principle. Also, SIMPLE IS DIFFICULT.   What I am beginning to realise is how success (an episode’s funniness) depends on SIMPLICITY.  That, and TIMING. Remembering that old insight, “It ain’t got a thing if it ain’t got that swing.”   But none of this matters in the slightest - tis merely a pep talk  - unless you write it down and suffer, and write some more and suffer some more, and allow yourself much gnashing of teeth and at least 40 nights in a desert, and do it and do it and do it, until it starts to become funny. Everything - even sex - becomes FUNNY if you do it long long. Problem is, most people give up before it starts getting good.”

- Billy Marshall Stoneking

READ MORE

Thursday, July 16, 2015




THE TRUTH IS...


nobody really gives a damn
other than maybe your mother
& if you can get over that
the only remaining challenge
is to realize that other people
don't spend nearly as much time
thinking about you as
 you do yourself,
which is the first & last
step to freeing yourself
from being a prisoner to
your fantasies concerning
other people's opinions about
what & who you are.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

GAYBY BABY has been nominated for an @AACTA Award for Best Feature Length Documentary!! This is pretty much the most prestigious film award in Australia, and the list of nominated films is incredible, so we are extremely proud and excited this morning. Great news for love, and great news for our campaign to get this film in front of Australian families everywhere. Thanks to all of you for your support on the journey so far, and stay tuned!
http://bit.ly/1f1ivjc

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

TO ALL MY AUSTRALIAN FRIENDS

Don't Let Labor Adopt the LNP's "turn back the boats" Policy. Send a message of protest...

To: Bill Shorten, Every Member of the the ALP Caucus, All Delegates from the State Branches as well as Each and Every Affilliated Union. 

SIGN HERE

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


A limited number of copies of MAYA NEWELL'S extraordinary short feature documentary about Richard Blackie, RICHARD : THE MOST INTERESTINGEST PERSON I'VE EVER MET is available for sale.  Price inc. postage is $30. If you would like to purchase a copy please send your name and details to  stonekingseminars@hotmail.com

Thursday, June 4, 2015


GAYBY BABY 
AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE

2015 SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL



Watch Gayby Baby on Good Morning New Zealand - our first appearance on LIVE tv!

Posted by Gayby Baby on Sunday, May 31, 2015

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

BIG LIST OF LITERARY MAGAZINES


NISQUALLY BOOKS RECOMMENDS

If you want a long list of literary magazines please go to EWR: Literary Magazine listings for All. We recommend that you use the browse and search feature at EWR Literary Magazines Search.

Now a Big List of Literary Magazines (2000) or so should helpful, it needs to be useful, and it needs to be easily loadable. Some writers still love this list, and we didn't want to take it away completely, so we are giving it to you in a PDF format. The reason we are doing this is to make it easier for you to use. The links are still clickable, and we feel that it is a little more scholarly to use for reference. Also, it is FREE, and you don't have to sign up for anything. Just click the link.

We hope to dress this list up eventually, give you pictures and more information, for now, it is what it has always been, a Big List of Literary Magazines.

Download the Big List of Literary Magazines

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

HERETIC PICTURES PRESENTS



"This is not just a speech or a story, it is the most majestic kind of poetry. She is so passionate, so intense about everything she feels. I cried and laughed and felt all of life crumble and piece back together in these 80-odd minutes."

An unusual autobiographical documentary that lifts the lid on the mysterious life of Christina Conrad - painter, poet, sculptor & film-maker - whose life-long struggle with convention, prejudice, injustice and the art world's respectability, reminds us of our own personal dramas and the hidden strengths with which we confront and survive the risks and hazards of a world that is working overtime to make everyone the same. As Conrad unwraps the hidden personalities of her inner landscape, she gives her voice to the voiceless, to those that created in secret and died of of neglect. Here is a story so personal, so exact in its examination of one human's life it is capable of speaking to and on behalf of the lives of human beings everywhere.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Stoneking sez...


Reading through a lot of scripts, I'm never very sure who the story is aimed at. It's as if the thought of "who is this for" never crossed the writer's mind. And when I ask, who apart from yourself are you writing this for, they seldom know how to answer. The usual response, when there is one, is 'I'm writing for everyone', as if there was an approximate audience that was going to drop whatever it was doing to pay attention to someone's else's story simply because someone had taken the time to write it down on paper. The burden of not knowing who your story is for is a story killer. And it can't be remedied by glibly assigning a demographic to what you're writing. It has to be more personal than that, much more personal. You can't write the blood and the bone and the heart of a story if you're talking to shadows.  - Billy Marshall Stoneking

Friday, May 8, 2015

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


You have to pay for everything you write, everything you feel, otherwise you can take nothing away. Audiences WANT evidence, storytellers have to find the evidence and present it. This is the case with both fictional and factional stories. What is the evidence that supports the kind of emotional awareness the story is seeking to stimulate? Where is it? It is not something that you simply appropriate - you have to earn it. This is especially the case for writers. Bad writing is writing that hasn't been earned - it's been stolen, appropriated, copied or otherwise conned from some experience or other in which the writers hasn't really been invested. There are three forms - SENTIMENTALITY (unearned emotion), PORNOGRAPHY (unearned intimacy) and PROPAGANDA (unearned knowledge).

- Billy Marshall Stoneking

Sunday, April 19, 2015

LIKE MAYA & THE REAL STUFF




Stoneking's forthcoming collection poems

CHARACTERS WE CARE ABOUT


Characters that we care about are characters whose actions we can relate to - they compel our interest and affection not because they are like us but because we identify qualities in them that we find admirable. So what are the essential qualities of a dramatic character in serious drama that make us connect emotionally with them?
1. A sense of humour
2. Loyalty
3. Confidence
4. Resiliency
5. Honesty
6. Passionate
7. Curiosity
8. Level headed, grounded
9. Realistically optimistic
10. Physically fit
You'll notice how all these qualities promote an active engagement with other characters and tend towards stimulating or encouraging active involvement with the issues related to the dramatic problems that seek solution. Character qualities are revealed through what characters do and say. We have to be able to SEE and HEAR these qualities in ACTION.
Other important characteristics of actionable characters include
11. Candidness
12. Showing affection
13. Intelligence
14. Creative
15. Experimental
16. Ambitious
17. Courageous
18. Thoughtful
19. Empathetic
20. Talented
Check through the latest draft of your screenplay and see just how many of these qualities are evidenced by the actions of the characters - Everything that every major character does - in every scene - should provide evidence one or more of these, otherwise your audience probably isn't going to give a damn. Of course, they may not give a damn even if your characters are possessed of all these attributes, but that is another problem.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The dialogical nature of genuine, character-based dramatic storytelling resonates very strongly with and is illuminated by Heidegger's concept of Dasein, which posits that humans exist within a world, and that it is this very relationship between the world and the person that is significant...

When applied to stories and dramatic action, it is clear that characters also exist in a world - a story world - and to the degree that a writer, an audience and the tribe or tribes whose circumstances are being dramatised, have a stake in this world, then the relationships that exist between and among the characters, writers, audiences and tribes are significant.

A character can make no account of him/herself in isolation from the other characters (both IN and OUTSIDE the script). A character's meaning, their emotional vividness, is contingent upon the connections and disconnections enacted with the other characters. All embody in their own, individual and circumstantial ways sets of drives, needs, fears, and choices whose meaning is revealed by and through these relationships.

It is not merely the existence of the storyteller and the storyteller's ideas that inform the evolving actions and interactions within the story-world, but the matrix of interactions that are played out among the storyteller, the characters, the audience and the relevant tribe or tribes.


- BILLY MARSHALL STONEKING
read more about TRIBAL STORYTELLING