The Blake Snyder Beat Sheet (BS2)

Book cover and beat sheet from “Save the Cat” by Blake Snyder.

The Blake Snyder Beat Sheet breaks down the mechanics of screenwriting in a pure and easy way. The BS2 saves the cat, saves your script and saves the day. Use it!

Bangkok Portrait #21: Weekend Cloudscapes @ Samutprakan

Two gorgeous sunset paintings over Sumutprakan this past weekend, as seen from the 35th floor rooftop of my condominium building. The first two pictures are of the same sunset on Sunday evening (from opposite directions), June 20, 2021. The third picture was taken the day before on Saturday. I just used the photo camera on my Galaxy Note 10+, so the sunsets aren’t perfectly captured, but they were so gorgeous I wanted to take a piece of them with me to remember how God is the master Artist of the creation.

Bangkok Portrait #16: Acting Headshots @ Sukumvit 24

Yesterday I made another quick stop @ Sukumvit 24 in Bangkok, hoping to repeat my success from the previous weekend’s impromptu adventure. This time, however, the place was deserted. There weren’t any groups of photographers and models walking around as there normally would be on a sunny Saturday morning. I waited a few minutes in vain, then asked a couple standing nearby to take a few shots with my smartphone, which had about 5% battery. Feeling defeated, I gave up early and left disappointed.

But then I realized I had forgotten a bag of clothes on a seat outside of Starbucks. So I walked back to get the bag. Fortunately, it was still there on the chair I had left it. I noticed a pair of young Thai men standing on the sidewalk outside the seating area. One man was taking photos of a coffee cup on the low wall that separated the seating area from the sidewalk. I noticed the Sony logo on his camera.

“That’s a nice camera,” I thought. “But how boring it must be to take photos of a coffee cup when you’re standing at a fashion hotspot. Photography must be his hobby.”

Then of course the obvious idea struck me. So I approached him and asked if he would like to take some model shots. I could tell he was an amateur and I introduced myself as a fellow weekend warrior. Maybe we could help each other out. Thankfully, he agreed.

Now he has some nice shots of a Western model to add to his photography portfolio, and I have these beautiful acting headshots for future casting gigs. All I did was prepare, then toss myself out there on a prayer. Praise God for his miraculous provision!

ESV-John-1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word,

and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.

He was in the beginning with God.
All things were made through him,

and without him was not any thing
made that was made.

In him was life,
and the life was the light of men.

The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.

Bangkok Portrait #14: Rooftop Tree at Twilight

What distinguishes the artist from the average person is his ability to see beyond the normalcy of his everyday environment and notice the beauty in the ordinary and familiar.

Take this tree for example. It’s just an ordinary tree I’ve seen many times on the rooftop of the parking garage behind my condominium, where there is an outdoor exercise area for residents. Although I knew it existed, I had never really noticed it before — until I went for a walk on the rooftop at twilight and it was the first thing my eyes saw as I stepped out of the staircase on the 10th floor. Maybe it was my having just walked up 10 flights of stairs and my heart was pumping harder than usual, but I was immediately stuck by the beauty of this ordinary tree against a deep blue sky.

It took me four or five tries over a span of about half an hour, awkwardly holding my phone camera while dodging the oncoming flow of irritated walkers, before I was able to capture the beauty of the scene as my eyes saw it. This image came the closest, yet doesn’t quite give justice to the glory of the moment. However, it does remind me that there is still so much more beauty to be mined by the curious observer in his home environment, if he would just slow down and listen to the songs of creation being sung every day.

Most days I don’t hear those songs because my world is full of the noise and anxieties of my own life, and my world becomes small and grey. But it is possible to break out of unhealthy habits and routines and begin to see the world in vibrant colors again.

You don’t need to travel “elsewhere” to experience the exhilaration of being alive. Embrace the gift of life in the here and now. A simple change of posture or perspective, and you will see the ordinary as extraordinary, the familiar as fresh anew. And like this tree, you too can grow in beauty wherever you’ve been planted.