Saturday, 30 January 2010


It's done. Enjoy!

Chatterton from Hannah Sternberg on Vimeo.

(Keep your eyes peeled for crew member cameos in the final scene: Aljosa, Carlos, Steph, Emma, Charles and me.)

Thursday, 21 January 2010

It's been over a week since I wrote here, so I present to you now, dear readers, a list of Causes That May Prevent One from Finishing One's Short Film During the Week in which One Intended To*:

a) getting a bad cold
B) getting a good job
6) saying good-bye to old job
xxi) saying hello to liquor
e) only with the best of friends
&) needing very seriously to spend one night simply lying in the dark, listening to the rain tink against the windows
...) needing very seriously to see the people who make me smile
5) seeing them, and smiling
!) taking a rest, drinking the air, tasting the rain, so I can
91) finish the film next week, and do it well.

*I will not be held responsible for any capitalization errors in the list title above, due to the items contained in the list, technically making it a list of Causes That May Prevent One from Finishing One's Short Film During the Week in which One Intended To, and May Also Incite Random Capitalization Errors which One Has Neither the Energy nor the Desire to Correct Despite One's Usually Freakish Fascination with Grammar.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

New Year, New Book, New Film!

I'm very happy to announce that I've sold my first book to Bancroft Press of Baltimore, Maryland.

The Queens of All the Earth is a young adult novel about two neurotic sisters who escape their iceberg mother one Thanksgiving by traveling to Barcelona to find a little peace. But they stumble into the opposite, as the eccentric travelers they meet in their hostel show them what they're really running from. The Queens of All the Earth is a gentle coming-of-age inspired by E. M. Forster's A Room with a View, a story of young love and awakening.

Bancroft Press has also purchased the cover I'd designed for the novel. You can see it below; I hope to post more tidbits about the book, and give away some free copies, as its release approaches. Right now, it's scheduled to come out this fall.

In other exciting news, I'll finish post-production on the Bedford Square short film Chatterton within two weeks. Once that's wrapped up, I'll be focusing on festival submissions and internet promotion - meaning I'll finally have time to compress and post bits of it here, and soon I'll even make the whole film available online.

So what else is coming up in this new year? Well, after a little break, I'm doing another revision of Bulfinch; I'm hoping to start working on an album-length lost-and-found film borrowing some music from the band Menomena; writing a few film columns for Historical Novels Review; and working on some new fiction. Oh, also, holding a job and trying to be a normal person.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Chatterton is almost complete!

In the last week Jay has sent me first cuts of the sound mix and animation sequence for Chatterton, officially earning him Batman status for working on my film, surviving finals and the holidays, and applying to grad school all at the same time. I'm hoping to visit Baltimore next weekend to wrap everything up. Some of the film festivals I'm sending it to have ambiguous warnings against submissions with "internet distribution," but I say, screw it, they can't stop me. I'm posting the film online because so many people have helped and supported me throughout the entire process that I want every one of them to be able to enjoy it and share it with their friends.

Last May, a few weeks after graduation, I felt a little lost, wondering what to do with all the passion I felt for art, when I had to get a job, pay my bills, and be a responsible person. So I started writing a story about four kids caught in that decision - four artists who aren't quite put together. As soon as I finished, I knew I absolutely had to create this film, so for the next two months I did everything I could to gather all the pieces I needed - I wheedled friends into acting and crewing for me; I borrowed equipment from my old school, from a professor and from former classmates; I bought a month of weekends in my friends' apartment with a few six-packs and a smile. I thought of everyone I knew who could do something special, and asked them to help - help make costumes, take pictures, decorate sets, manage production, light scenes, run lines, animate, record sound, become the world's only Human Steadicam, drink beer and stand around charmingly in a party scene, keep my head from exploding.

Then, in September, to my overwhelming wonder, I succeeded in shooting an entirely independent short film - on time, on budget, and directly within my vision for it. Up until the last hour before I left for Baltimore on the evening before the first shoot, I was still unconvinced that it would actually happen. But each day we worked, I grew more confident. Each day convinced me that this - filmmaking - was the thing that I am strangely built for.

It was hard - we started shooting only a few weeks after I began my new full-time job. For three weekends, I ran myself down until I was sick with exhaustion, then came to the office on Monday. And then for three months after that, I juggled my new life in DC with visits to Baltimore to edit the film - weekends that were always too short to do all the work and see all the friends I wanted to see. I invariably caught a train several hours later than I had planned on returning home on Sunday, and nourished a tidy little caffeine addiction.

But my friends worked just as hard, giving up days and weekends during a busy semester, generating their own creative work to contribute, and giving me a more objective eye on my own work. Every effort they contributed was a vote of confidence in me and my vision, and it inspired me to work even harder. It's been half a year now - ending in a new year - and I can barely believe it's almost over, something like the feeling of unreality when we finally started shooting. I'm incredibly proud of us. And I can't wait to start the next one.