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Bill Johnson
Lives in Portland, OR
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Capsule Movie Reviews by Bill Johnson for 2016
These capsule reviews of current movies offer a basic overview of what these stories did (or didn't do)
to engage an audience. They are not meant to convey
a full review of the movie, or a scene by scene breakdown. All reviews by Bill Johnson,
copyright ...
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hey bill, comcast EMAIL is down.  Please call me now. Lisa
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The Friday Report
My latest photo edit for  Instagram ! I happen to think it's pretty awesome to have a lot of interests and do a lot of different things. Which I do. Copiously and with thoroughness. But while I get a lot of satisfaction out of that, there's a trade-off that...
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Writing Critiques Offered at Write on the River Conference
Bill Johnson will be offering manuscript critiques as part of the Write on the River conference. Bob Dugoni is the featured speaker and Rachel Letofsky is a featured Literary Agent. Write On The River is North Central Washington’s only writing conference. ...
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Writing Fear is about what can happen when a need for security turns an author into an observer of events seen and described from a distance.
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Quick Cuts

These capsule reviews of current movies offer a basic overview of what these stories did (or didn't do) to engage an audience. They are not meant to convey a full review of the movie, or a scene by scene breakdown. All reviews by Bill Johnson.

Joy
posted 1/3/16
This film demonstrates the problems with being realistic. Joy the main character is a single mother in a dysfunctional environment. It takes a good twenty five minutes to set out all those characters and their many issues and get to a significant turning point, Joy inventing a mop and then getting onto one of the early cable TV sales channels to promote it into a huge success. By the end of the film, still surrounded by dysfunctional family members trying to sabotage her, Joy has created and manages a business empire.

That's all plot, but what's the story about? That remains buried under the ruble composed of all those dysfunctional relationships and events. It's probably something to do with Joy overcoming all her disadvantages to make something of herself, encouraged by her grandmother. But I'm not sure. And, based on the reviews and audience reactions, I don't think others were sure, either.

There's not enough else going on to make up for that.


The Secret in Their Eyes
posted 12/6/15
This film has a dual time line and some powerful acting, but it becomes a long build to a reveal. The film starts with the murder of a teenage girl, who is the daughter of counter-terrorism officer in LA just after 9/11 working with a partner. Both are devastated by the murder. 13 years later, he feels he's tracked down the main suspect.

The story issue for having a dual time line is there needs to be dramatic tension and a clarity of purpose combining story and plot on both time lines. The plot is always clear, will the main character track down the murderer after 13 years, but the story is more complicated. It's about loss and obsession and not being able to let go of the 'what if' moments in life that define the characters.

A complicated plot like this creates what I call a traffic cop effect, with scenes organized around what needs to happen for the plots on both time lines to work and build to a big reveal. The director and actors pull off the plot and I admire how the characters are portrayed, but a deeper level of psychological depth never developed.

Interesting film.

The Visit
posted 9/16/15
The set up here is two teenagers, 16 and 13, are sent off to spend a week on a remote farm with the grandparents they have never met. The grandparents are very, very odd, with the grandmother running naked through the house in the middle of the night; and the father attacking a stranger in a nearby city. The grandfather says his wife has a disease exasperated by moonlight.

I call this plot, what will be the outcome of this strange behavior? Is there something the grandparents are hiding in the basement? If so, what?

The film moves to answer those questions in an interesting way. But... There's no story, in the sense that I define story. There is a scene with the mother and her teen daughter at the end of the movie, where it's clear the daughter functions as the parent in the relationship. That idea could have been developed in the film. Some other idea could have been developed. None were. Mostly it's just a movie with a lot of boo! moments (things jumping into the screen).

I don't know if there were some story ideas developed in the script that didn't make it into the movie. As it stands, it's the usual problem, the audience finds out the point of the film at the end of the movie. Having a clever plot just isn't enough. 
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Bill Johnson

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Capsule Movie Reviews by Bill Johnson for 2016
These capsule reviews of current movies offer a basic overview of what these stories did (or didn't do)
to engage an audience. They are not meant to convey
a full review of the movie, or a scene by scene breakdown. All reviews by Bill Johnson,
copyright ...
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5 Things For Authors To Tweet About (That Aren’t "Buy My Book!")

Do you get stuck in a rut when posting on Twitter? Here are some things to tweet about: http://bookmarketingtools.com/blog/5-things-for-authors-to-tweet-about-that-arent-buy-my-book/
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Writing Critiques Offered at Write on the River Conference
Bill Johnson will be offering manuscript critiques as part of the Write on the River conference. Bob Dugoni is the featured speaker and Rachel Letofsky is a featured Literary Agent. Write On The River is North Central Washington’s only writing conference. ...
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Story
Tagline
Author of A Story is a Promise and the Spirit of Storytelling
Introduction
I'm the office manager of Willamette Writers, a non-profit writers group in the Pacific Northwest with 1,650 members; and the author of A Story is a Promise & The Spirit of Storytelling. On my website at www.storyispromise.com I review movies, books, and plays to teach an understanding of how to write a movie script and how to write a novel.

Kriya Yoga meditation.
Bragging rights
My plays have been produced around the United States and several have won awards. I've done script work for hire and worked with literary agents to assist their clients.
Work
Occupation
I teach screenwriting and I'm a story analyst. I break down stories to help teach structure. I am the author of the novel Heroes & Friends.
Skills
story analyst screenwriter playwright
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Bill Johnson's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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