"So what makes up those 'unique selling points'? Professional marketers and publicists will no doubt agree on many things and dispute others. Exposure is a must and not always tenable. But stripped down, bare naked? The unique selling point is you."
Your voice is yours alone. Your concept belongs to you, no matter how borrowed, tried-and-true, or even if it's failed a thousand times. If you think you can do it better, you own it. You might sound similar to another writer and write in the same genre/storylines, but you are the one who must produce that tiny or huge difference which singles you out or separates you from all who've done it before or since. Only you can do it.
Some of us writers/authors operate in the shadows.We have virtually no audience outside of those who've willingly read or dared to read our work. Whether trusted friends or valued strangers, we need their responses to affirm our writing and encourage us to keep the writing gig from sinking even further into oblivion. We may have attempted to slink out of the shadows by attending conferences, engaging other authors, or whatever the publicist gurus have suggested, but it seems we remain obscure. We are, after all, who we are. And that something "unique" about us isn't selling much.
So. Do we change our dynamic? Do we get more aggressive with our efforts to force through invisible barriers? Do we embrace the platitudes of professionals which suggest "only the best get published"? And decide we're certainly not one of those "best"?
I can only speak for me, and this writer/author knows my "success" depends on God's intent. That can but doesn't necessarily mean I keep hanging around, do nothing to forward my "position", or just wait. I practiced "the plan" suggested by most publishing professionals, and I elected to go the do-it-yourself route when things didn't seem to be working. But that's me. Now? Now I occasionally work on my three unfinished novels, access feedback, and know that I must finish the work assigned to me. Beyond that I will admit there is only a ragtag plan to do ebooks for my novels.
What about you? Are you inspired to follow a plan, set a goal, write through the frustrations and/or demands, keep banging on doors until one opens for you? Or are you content to write and wait it out, come "success" or "failure", have the confidence to allow the Lord to do the construction of the road ahead for you?
Whatever you decide for yourself, you are the selling point, the unique individual with something of value to offer to whomever will take a chance on you. You are designed by a magnificent God who put you together with loving hands. Your talents were His gifts to you, and how He desires to use them will be the best. Admittedly, sometimes, accepting that is hard to do. But well worth it.
Father, thank you for all you've given me. I'm blessed. And once again thank you is never enough. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
In order to sustain good literature and good television or film, something within the pages, 45 minute segment, or the feature length movie must have that certain appeal, an attraction for the reader or viewer, which will keep them engaged for all the time it takes to conclude the work.
As writers, we know it's almost impossible to come up with something truly unique, but the variations of everyday and not-so-everyday people, topics, scenery, and fantastical creations are only subject to one's imagination. Some of us are limited in our scope of imagination - me for one. And others of us dabble out there in the realm of possible and impossible, beginning with a favorite writers' question: What if? (Again, not my choice of questions.)
Those of you who read my weeklong character studies of the primary Reckless characters easily saw what the show's unique selling points were for me. I'm a character-study kind of author and if you give me solid, varied, "attractive" characters coupled with good writing, I'm hooked.
Okay. Three words in that last sentence need further explanation. "Attractive": by that I mean somehow the character "attracts" me. Yes, it can mean they're a pleasure to look at such as the co-stars of the drama Reckless: Cam Gigandet and Anna Wood. However, if either of those two had been written poorly, the results could've been the opposite of attractive. Instead, they were given opposing characteristics at war within themselves. Jamie Sawyer (Anna Wood) was both confident and skilled but vulnerable and restricted by her professional ethics. Roy Rayder (Cam Gigandet) was both confident and charming but drawn (to Jamie) and conflicted by the blurring lines of right and wrong.
But "attractive" also can mean the character is deep or shallow, good or evil, but so well done as to keep my attention, confusion, or wishing they would receive justice for whatever they seek or have done.
Next two words needing interpretation from my point of view are "good writing". Some authors, critics, reviewers, and writing professionals will assert that the term "good writing" is not subjective, but I strongly disagree. Since two of the supposed "best" classic authors such as Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner make my list of worst classic authors, I cannot agree that there is some writing that transcends opinion. My idea of good writing might not rate the same value as yours. However, here is what constitutes "good" writing to me in novels and screenwriting: Dialogue must snap, be real for each character, crackle when conflict is present, and pop because it defines the moment. Expressions must be included in the visuals or merge into the perception from the written word. Actions can be subtle or overt, emotions can be controlled or chaotic, but they must ring true to the situation - even if they're "out of character" for the individual.
Of course opinions will vary and contradict on what constitutes good writing. It's the nature of the arts. Someone loves Monet but hates Dali and someone else loves them both because they work in different mediums within the same frame. Spread that out to literature and music. It's inevitable that some will love the simplest rendtions of any art form while others will immerse themselves in the complex. Still others will insist their preferences are the only ones that truly reflect what "good" art is.
So what makes up those "unique selling points"? Professional marketers and publicists will no doubt agree on many things and dispute others. Exposure is a must and not always tenable. But stripped down, bare naked? The unique selling point is you.
Father, you're the true author of unique. Please help us all to be every part of what you designed us to be. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
There has been a huge visceral response to the CBS summer replacement series Reckless. Fans are writing, posting, tweeting, and using a Facebook page specifically designed for renewing Reckless. Fans' outcries are often the only way series TV can be salvaged.
Reckless did everything right - except, according to some South Carolinians, some faux pas with area references and specific cuisine choices. Those kinds of mistakes are easily corrected with the proper researchers/contributors. Each week the characters revealed more of themselves, the intrigue increased, the UST intensified, important background information added to the fullness of the circumstances, and sometimes the bad guys and gals triumphed. It ended with questions that need to be answered. The fans of Reckless have been left clamoring for more.
We all have different preferences for our television viewing, and at times it's hard for us to understand how some shows survive while others are canceled. Quality is at a premium, and Reckless had it. From start to finish, Reckless gave its audience week after week of a solid storyline, terrific acting, court room clashes, backroom deals, a good guy in the midst of corruption, and a talented, confident but vulnerable female making a name and place for herself far from her Yankee comfort zone. Romance lingered. Lust prevailed. Bad things slid under the radar and seemed to dominate certain lives. There were unique twists and sad occurences. There were egos, pride, greed, and slander. Multiple kinds of conflict. Beauty, ugliness, and evil.
I can't imagine not being able to enjoy more of this drama and learning the results of that cliffhanger ending. And I'm not alone. Reckless has a cache of fans who are bombarding CBS with their requests for more. We're hoping CBS will respond favorably to this serious fan base and bring back Reckless.
Lord, please use the talent you've given so generously. Let it be that you receive the gratitude you deserve for your love and kindness. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Thank you, Lord, for bringing us through the deep waters, for saving our souls, for watching over us, for loving us more than we can know, and for being who you are. Always. Thank you is never enough. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
For whatever reason, by design, genre, or insufficient access to money or imagination, few television series dramas can muster "having it all". From costumes, set designs, hues and colors, stunning photography, even future episode previews to perfect casting, great acting and creative direction with character understanding/development, superb dialogue and original/provocative writing and editing, and a carefully scripted inclusion of poignant soundtracks, Reckless had it all. The CBS summer replacement series kept upping its game and culminated in a two-part, same night dynamite Series Finale. As it stands, Reckless ended its run in the shocking Series Finale, leaving viewers in desperate need of a Season Two.
Although Reckless was initially promoted as a southern steamy evening soap opera, Reckless proved to be so much more.The "steam" diminished and was replaced by the much more desirable UST (Unresolved Sexual Tension). There were definite flare-ups of the sexual scenes because of the overall defining theme of the first season focusing on the wrongful termination/defamation of character trial of Lee Anne Marcus v. the City of Charleston and the CPD. As her character became more exposed, we watched as she wielded her sexuality like a powerful weapon, intoxicating men and bringing them under her spell.
Creator and writer of RecklessDana Stevens closed the season with a knockout punch preceded by writer Corey Miller's tantalizing set-up power jabs. Their Season Finale efforts activated shock and awe from Reckless viewers and have successfully spawned the #RenewRecklesscampaign for a Season Two.
Although I enjoy several CBS dramas, few contain every possible element of creativity - not that they all should. However, the fact that all of these amazing elements weren't only included in Reckless but were so exceptionally done is not only surprising for a summer replacement, it's generally unheard of in TV dramas. From Dana Stevens to the Sander/Moses duo to the producers, actors, writers, editors, directors, casting crew, camera crews, costumers, sound technicians, and the multitude of people who worked hard to make this show great: you did a fantastic job. You deserve another chance to keep the excellence going, but I must admit it will be very difficult to sustain such a high level of performance at all levels.
Thank you to all of you for producing such quality TV with such riveting drama.
Father, you give all the talents and gifts to us. I pray each one would be thankful for the blessings you've given them in creating their lives. Thank you, God. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Detective Preston Cruz played by Adam Rodriguez is a former New York cop, having been in Charleston for a year when the Lee Ann Marcus trial begins. At the start of Reckless he is cocky and secure in his relationship with Yankee attorney Jamie Sawyer, but when his undercover work puts him in compromising positions which he's not allowed to explain or expose, he loses Jamie, and Roy Rayder is quick to capitalize when given those moments with her. When Preston's undercover work puts him in danger, he makes a trip to Jamie's office to pledge his love for her in case something happens to him - which it does. Roy rushes to tell Jamie when Preston is shot and accompanies her to the hospital. When Preston recovers and refuses to report Terry McCandless's activities to the Deputy Chief, he and Roy continue to conduct police business, but once the depositions for the trial begin, they express their animosity toward one another over Jamie. Another character who has a sense of right and wrong, he's a loyal man pledged to the CPD. Adam Rodriguez plays the cop role well, but the chemistry between his character and that of Jamie Sawyer can't compare to the Roy and Jamie combo. In his final scene with Jamie, he warns her she's making a mistake taking up with Roy and assures her their "story" isn't finished.
Deputy Chief Holland Knox, played by Michael Gladis, has his police force under surveillance using Detective Preston Cruz to help him uncover the corruption in the CPD. Knowing Detective McCandless is at the root of the problem, Holland wants Preston to work with Terry until they can catch him red-handed in his gun running operation. Holland Knox is a stoic character, rarely allowing anything to move him from his firm approach. He briefly lets down his stern demeanor when he's with his best friend Roy Rayder, but it never lasts long. He's a man under pressure, and it seems he sees more than he ever lets on, but we don't know that for sure because he's rarely forthcoming.
Arliss Fulton, played convincingly by Falk Hentschel, is Lee Anne Marcus' husband, a paraplegic Iraq war vet, willing to forget Lee Anne's transgressions until the sex tape of her activities is leaked and televised for all to see. It crushes his hopes for his marriage and he disappears, leaving his wrecked pickup deserted. Terry McCandless learns Arliss' dog tags were discovered near a "gator's nest" and returns them to Lee Anne after she makes a bold visit to the police department to demand answers about her missing husband. As Arliss reveals when he's found, he wanted to hurt her so he left but promises they can leave together and start over if she will drop the lawsuit and the lies and settle with the City. Her desire to win the lawsuit and cash in turns Arliss in his chair and he rolls away from her, knowing he's lost the battle to appeal to what goodness she might have remaining. Very well played by Falk Hentschel, particularly his final scene.
Shelby is Roy's ex-wife who we first meet when she announces her engagement to "Nolan", a real estate magnate who's set up a shell company with her father to buy a coveted area of housing in Charleston to resell for a huge profit to a resort hotel chain for development. Played by Megan Ketch, she brings that southern belle persona to life. She returns in the Series Finale with their older daughter Julia having broken her leg at a birthday party, requiring surgery, and no more Nolan. Roy is there for them and Shelby reminisces about their older daughter's birth. Roy clearly remembers the eventful day, and we can see Shelby wants him back. When she suggests they start dating again, taking it slowly, the conflict on Roy's face is tangible. She's needy and vulnerable, and Roy realizes he's finally gotten over her now that she wants to start over. What will "doing the right thing" require of him?
Pictured above are Gregory Harrison who plays Dec Fortnum and Linda Purl who plays his "longsuffering wife" Barbara Fortnum, Shelby's dad and mom, Roy's former in-laws. Dec is a senior partner in the law firm where Roy works. He's a conniving philanderer who will exploit people and circumstances to get whatever he wants. Barbara Fortnum is equally tainted, her inherited status and the power it affords her of primary importance in her life. She "allows" Dec his dalliances until one of Dec's mistresses comes up pregnant. When Dec is given the choice to run for mayor and possess the power and position it will give him or keep his pregnant mistress, he draws up a document to ditch his mistress, agreeing to take care of her as long as she keeps her mouth shut and leaves Charleston. She signs, but her parting shot reveals Dec's child she's carrying is the son he's always wanted.
Dec and Barbara are two of a kind which is probably why they remain together. Power and prestige dominate their decisions, Barbara's only concern being publically humiliated by her husband's illicit affairs. Dec's charm is flaunted whenever necessary, but his cold, calculating agenda involves all kinds of wickedness. In the Season Finale we're shocked to see just how broad that scope of evil stretches and what happens as a result.
Dec and Barbara show their other sides when their granddaughters visit, both attentive and tender toward the girls. Shelby appears to be totally unaware of her parents' "untoward" habits, but Roy most likely has his suspicions about Dec. Gregory Harrison and Linda Purl give the professional performances they're used to performing, filling their characters with both charm and venom.
There are a few more sterling performances in this CBS series, each one of them contributing to the whole of Reckless. It's been a real pleasure to view this drama. My final summations will appear tomorrow.
Father, we're all people caught in the web of sin. Only you can free us from our own evil if we'll turn our hearts to you. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Kim Wayans plays Jamie Sawyer's assistant Violet "Vi" Briggs in the CBS drama Reckless. Street smart, snappy, sistah-girl ways, wise like a fox, and as her ex-husband told her "able to do anything she puts her mind to", Vi is the kind of assistant everyone should have. She knows what to do and how and when to do it, and she keeps Jamie in line and on track when Jamie's emotions want to interfere with her job's demanding responsibilities and restrictions.
Like so many of the characters in Reckless, Vi has a strong streak of the right way to get things done. She's now a single mother of a daughter in college and a son in high school. Her ex is a well-known plastic surgeon who Jamie defends in a lawsuit waged against Dr. Briggs by his former lover. Winning that suit depended largely on what Vi discovered in her research.
Vi regards Jamie not only as her employer but fondly thinks of her as family, especially when Jamie considers moving back to New York following the initial dismissal of Lee Ann's case and the immediate departure of her brother after finally finding him and successfully defending him. Vi is an essential part of Jamie's practice because of her maturity, investigative skills, and the ability to see the value in Jamie's relationship with Roy Rayder, recognizing but not vocalizing their chemistry and mutual loneliness.
Vi Briggs brings a snap, crackle, and pop to Jamie's office, a colorful conglomeration of wit and wisdom, insightful analysis of circumstances, and a woman who adds empathy, toughness, and never fails to make clear the confines of the job. By so doing, she protects Jamie from her most vulnerable self.
Kim Wayans is a pleasure to watch as she continues to add on meaningful moments with Vi Briggs. Well played. And again: great casting.
Father, our ability to do the right thing lies solely in you - whether we know it or not. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.