Be back soon…

Well the idea of posting more regularly was clearly defeated by work. I’m happily developing great shows with great people and it leaves me little brain power to write something that doesn’t involve the stuff I’m working on, which I can’t even blog about because it’s all very hush-hush. So I’ll spare you the process and frustrations and joys of the development period and just say: I’ll be back soon and possibly start blogging about my half-marathon training or how I made my peace with living in Munich or even how to declutter and throw s*&# out (we did that this month and it felt really good). In the meantime I’ll keep tweeting about the events I attend or about the lagging behind but trying to catch up German market. Thanks for stopping by and I’m sorry to disappoint with a be back soon message. If you have a minute to browse through previous posts, I’m sure you’ll find an entry or two from the past two years that might be of interest. Otherwise, see you soon!

Squeezes and smiles,

Juliana

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Flash Fiction

I came across a magazine that publishes flash fiction. I had never heard of this kind of fiction until I stumbled upon it and thought: be a great way to take a short break from the screenplay I was working on. The whole idea is that you write a story with 1000 words or less but for this particular publication it had to be at 360 words. I thought it was a pretty interesting idea in the days of 5 second ad spots and twitter, so I decided to write my first flash fiction ever. I submitted the story, I had nothing to lose, and it got rejected, as most first time anything does. But that means I get to publish it here just the same. At 360 words, including the title, I hope you enjoy it. 🙂  

 


 

IT IS WHAT IT IS

My grandmother used to say that to me and it used to drive me crazy. In my child mind nothing was as it was because I questioned everything and believed nothing, only my own made-up world. I had an imaginary village as a kid. Not just a friend, but an entire functioning village. Nobody was starving, nobody fought, though disagreements were allowed, everyone danced and nobody complained more than two complaints a day. You would get a ticket from the imaginary Police Monster (yes — in my mind it was a big purple monster) and punishment would be to say something wonderful about every single imaginary person in the made-up village. On a bad day, there weren’t so many (imaginary people that is not bad days), but on a good day, I knew the names of hundreds of imaginary villagers. You did not want to get a ticket on a good day. 

Now it doesn’t anymore, drive me crazy that is, because I’ve grown up to learn that not everyone dances. You can either chose to accept that and make the best out of it or fight against it your whole life. Fighting tires me out. So I chose option number one. Acceptance. Not to say that it goes hand in hand with indifference, but you sort of just learn to numb yourself away from the pain. Grandma would not be proud.

I have a friend who moved to the middle of nowhere to numb the pain of her existence. They, her and her husband, just built a house in the woods and decided to grow most everything themselves or just buy from local farmers. They don’t own a TV. They are not on Facebook. They rarely know what’s going on in the world, except in their corner of the world, like it used to be, back when my grandmother was a little girl. I wonder if my grandmother also had an imaginary village. But it’s too late to ask. She passed away this morning without warning. I’m angry and hurt and confused, but don’t be confused, says my father, it is what it is.

by Juliana Lima Dehne


 

#117 Guest Column in Digestivo Cultural!

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click to read

Check out my guest column in Brazil’s largest digital cultural magazine Digestivo Cultural with 2+ million monthly readers. It’s in Portuguese but apparently google translate does not do a bad job. It’s on one of my favorite topics: SERIES. Hope you enjoy it!

Colunista convidada deste mês na maior referencia em cultura na internet brasileira: Digestivo Cultural! Se você curte seriados vai curtir a coluna. 🙂

#116 Munich Summer has commenced…

It only took me four years to finally feel at home in Munich.  Yesterday we took a break from work and went over to the “Summer Sundowner” kick-off at the Goldene Bar. The weather was perfect, people were smiling, the city was peaceful and the smell of barbecue filled the landscape. As we sat and listened to the sounds of DJ Kitt Bang over a glass of Weißweinschorle and talked about a project we are currently working on I thought: this is it. This is what I’ve always wanted for my 30’s.

When I was a kid, my parents thought I was the next best thing to sliced bread and nurtured my creative impulses to become an artist someday. I was very loved as a child and had a happy childhood. Then I became a teenager and during the prosperous Clinton-era we were taught that we were special. That we had to be original and our originality as human beings would take us places. I felt loved by my teachers and peers, for the most part. So I grew up with a false sense of the world around me because I really believed that I would be rewarded someday just for being me. Then I finished college and went out into the world, this in my twenties, and slowly found out that the world’s socio-economic structure didn’t have a place for everyone and most importantly — nobody gave a shit about me. That’s when I hit a phase of despair, felt very insecure and lost and struggled to redefine that distorted perception I had of myself and consequently my place in the larger scheme of life as a social whole. I was sure I’d get there someday and I was hoping it would be in my 30’s.

That someday was yesterday. For a split second I could actually measure the peace inside.  A sense of constructing life without it always having to be  filled with insecurity  or an ongoing inner struggle. I finally felt a sense of place and control I had never felt before. A sense of control that oddly enough actually means letting go. Letting go of expectations, in the most profound way, and just doing the work. Not only in a professional sense, but  in every aspect of life from family to friends to work to romantic relationships to yourself.  Nothing comes for granted. You have to be willing to work for it.

I looked up at the blazing sun, even at 8pm because it’s Europe, that’s why I fell in love with European Summers and wanted to come back to Europe someday, and smiled. Summer comes filled with hope as does the new phase of inner peace in a seemingly crazy outer world.

As everything in life, every new achievement comes at the end of a long process of development… of maturing… of growth… of a lot of sleepless nights wondering what is the meaning of all of it or will I ever get there. Growth will always be painful, it’s part of the deal, but it’s those moments when you finally find yourself enjoying the ride and, in my case, also enjoying your new hometown you realize: it was worthwhile.

munich summer 09062014 by JLD

photo © juliana lima dehne 2014 / munich

#115 And we’re back!

It’s been an insane last couple of months. Had the pleasure of working in a writer’s room with kick-ass (literally and figuratively) Emmy-nominated showrunner Morgan Gendel, who joined us in Cologne from LA for an intense 6 weeks. We created a brand new series and wrote the whole first season, that means, 9 full episodes in that time. Yes. It was exhausting and thrilling.

I’m not used to the frenetic TV pacing but definitely learned how to write fast whilst maintaining quality. I’m not used to writing with so many heads and there we were, 10 of us, beating out every episode together.  The collaborative process has been nothing but enriching. Maybe we got lucky, maybe we were too tired to put up a fight, but we never had any major collisions.

I’m now sitting alone in my writing office, that corner of the living room we converted into my own little writing oasis, and I’m missing the instant feedback and help only a well run writer’s room can offer. White boards, index cards, silo beats, beat sheets, I’m lost without you. Now we all know that writer’s rooms aren’t Germany’s favorite television model, at least not those run by a Showrunner, but I’m sure we’re all asking ourselves at this moment: why not?!

Three heads are better than one. Six heads can speed up the process without it being detrimental to the quality and therefore be better than three if you’re looking for a horizontal arc show with more than 8 episodes. A writer/producer is an asset to the industrial entertainment machine we know as television, yet producers here on this side of the pond, don’t seem to be too keen on the idea. And I’m not just saying. We’ve had the pleasure of sitting with successful German producers, broadcasters and pay-tv during this period. And they all squeal at the pronunciation of the word “Showrunner”. Well, they say, TV is a different beast in Europe as it is in the US. There are financial implications. I think there are educational implications. Nobody is trained to be a showrunner nor to work well in a writer’s room. I highly doubt there isn’t a sustainable financial model out there to run a modest writer’s room for any given TV series. But that’s a whole new blog entry of its own.

Nevertheless, I’m ready to jump on board any writer’s room that comes along. If we can write a whole season in six weeks, that means 9 full episodes, we can pretty much do anything.

ifs writer's room 2014 JLD

photo by JLD

#114 Temporarily closed for renovation…

I haven’t been blogging, as you may or may not have noticed, because someone shrunk time, not the kids.

Last week I blamed it on MIPTV. The week before, pitching  specs to Frank Spotnitz, the week before researching transgressive bodies representations in film and popular culture but more specifically television. I focused my efforts on the child body. Starting with Shirley Temple and ending on Once Upon a Time. A full circle. Back then children imitated adults and had no place in society. Today they have replaced adults and carry the secrets or hopes of a better tomorrow, a very important role in our society.  Those were my findings in a nutshell.

Then I should’ve written the MondayBlogSeries yesterday you say. Yes, BUT we just started a writer’s room with Morgan Gendel and it’s looking to be pretty intensive all the way through the next six weeks so we’re temporarily closed for renovation of my thoughts, discourse, utterances and content.

miptv2014_JLD3 See you back in June! Until then enjoy the Spring, if you reside in the northern hemisphere, or the Fall, for those of you below the equator.     photo © julianalimadehne at #miptv2014

#112 & #113 Two for the price of one… a horror tale.

Death isn’t something we like to think about much and rarely do we touch upon the subject unless it has just happened to a loved one or to someone we know. Except when you write you tend to be confronted with our fears, angst and needs more often than you’d like to admit.

When you write you end up addressing at least one uncomfortable subject of the collective unconscious and call it the “universal element” in your screenplay, novel or short story. It sounds more eloquent for sure and producers hear “sales” when they hear it.

So this past week, during one of Phil Parker’s marvelous classes, we discussed genres and then within genres we discussed horror films which inevitably led to talking about the fear of death and the unknown. That’s why the horror genre exists, so we can work through these fears collectively. We all have them.

Now I have always wondered, growing up, why death itself never scared me. I thought I was one of the few who could manage to blurt out  a “I’m not scared of dying” defiantly but secretly never understood why I wasn’t like everyone else. I should be afraid of dying shouldn’t I? Then, talking about the horror genre and the fear of death, the words uttered in class hit me for the first time: the fear of death had to do with the fear of leaving unfinished business and not of the act of dying in itself.

It got me thinking and sure enough I wondered what it would be like if I died (hypothetically) say… tomorrow – because who wants to rush a thing like that? – and today I still have to re-write a spec and take Oski to the park for a run- so a hypothetical tomorrow suits the thinking exercise better anyway.

So if I did die like next week… Did I do everything I wanted? Was I happy with life as it was? Would my family be ok? Did I let my human relationships know what they meant to me? Did I finish that piece of writing I was working on? Oh that would be the worst! Unfinished writing. I squealed.

All of a sudden, the fear of death crept up on me and I could no longer say that I wasn’t scared of dying because truth be told, at this point, I still haven’t managed to achieve half of the things I set out to achieve, I’m not sure I spent enough time with my friends and family, and among so many things, who will sew the button that chronically falls off my husband’s coat? Okay if I knew how to sew properly it probably wouldn’t be falling off every few months… but that’s beside the point. The fact is, I can’t die yet I’ve got unfinished business!  Maybe that’s why I’m most afraid of ghost stories. Monsters I can deal with. I’m not scared of the unknown, that’s the life you choose when you choose art over normality, but man those ghosts that come to haunt and somehow avenge whatever (or whomever) it is that happened to them, preventing them from ever finishing their business here on earth… chills… now that’s scary.

I quickly jot down my thoughts and realize for the first time why I was fascinated and utterly scared of ghost horror films as a kid. My favorite was the 1992 flick Candyman. No wonder.

I look back up, coffee break.  

“Great stuff” I blurt out. Not only did I learn something about genre, but I learned something about myself. Two for the price of one.  If I ever want or have the chance to write a horror film, or series, I should definitely focus on ghosts.

And finishing all work in progress.

#111 my human is a “starer”…

I wonder what she does all day staring at the screen. Sometimes she gets up and grabs something to eat. She never shares. Sometimes she gets up and tidies the room. That’s when I know whatever it is that she’s staring at isn’t going well. Sometimes she gets up and wraps her arm around me and squeezes me so tight I can’t breathe, I hate it when she does it. I don’t understand why she does it. The worse is when she pierces her lips together and releases it on my head. It makes this weird smack sound and then she giggles and talks to me like I’m from another planet. I like the attention though, I must admit.

I like the times we go outside. That’s usually three times a day. Well five total. The man takes me twice and she takes me two or three times. When she’s in a good mood it’s fun. We go to the park, we play catch, she lets me run to other dogs, sniff around. When she’s in a working mood then it sucks. She barely talks to me, we go around the block a few times and back home. When she’s in a bad mood I’m on the leash all the time. She knows I know she doesn’t pay attention when she’s in a bad mood and that’s when I can get away with a lot. I’ll even eat something off the street if it smells appetizing. Oh she gets real mad when I do that.

It’s the same day in and day out. She has breakfast with the man of the house (we’ve settled that when I was 1, he won) and then she sits on a ball and stares at the screen. A ball three times my size. I’ve tried playing with it but it just doesn’t roll the right way. I don’t know what she does there but recently she got this present that makes really loud noise every time she hits it. She hits it a lot, with all her fingers. Sometimes it makes a whistling sound and she rips a piece of paper from it and stares at it.

I guess if anyone asked me I’d say she’s a “starer”. That’s what she does for work. She stares at screens and papers. I know work. It’s what humans do most of the time.

I run, play, sleep and eat and she sleeps, eats and stares.

Humans are weird. Don’t know why I love them so much, but I do.

Oski 19_01_2013

#110 Singing does a soul good…

Studio days withering away.  What a joy it has been, what a joy.

Thank you Fabio, Daniel, Elvira and Livio for the amazing work each day.

How sad I am to leave what never really was mine to begin with, but may become someday.

The world of music, studio and recording. Singing. Only singing, if I may.

Revisiting the childhood I had many summers, when we’d pack and fly to Brazil from the US for a visit.

Singing songs every Brazilian sung when they were 3 and 4 or even 8.  Songs I learned rather late.

To record an album for children is to have the privileged of being part of their formative years.

Hoping to contribute with some love, a bit of laughter and tons of notes.

What a joy it has been, what a joy.

Now I pack to fly back across the pond, eager to share the work with you.

But I must wait, they say, I must wait, like a child awaits sweets after a plate of healthy food.

juliana lima dehne singing Eu Canto eu me encanto 2014

O album “Eu Canto, Eu me Encanto” tem previsão de lançamento para Abril, 2014.

Aguardem!