Monday, June 9, 2014

Sound Design

The Expressive Power of Music, Voice, and Sound Effects in Cinema
By David Sonnenschein

Book Review
By Ann Baldwin

David Sonnenschein is an award-winning filmmaker and has been producing and directing films to expand our consciousness, maximize our potential, and heal the planet, since 1975. Trained as a classical musician, photographer, sculptor and dancer, Sonnenschein received his B.A. in Neurobiology and worked in the V.A. Hospital sleep laboratory to publish research articles on the physiological correlates to daydreaming. He then directed the educational film "PHAGE LAMBDA" for U.C. San Diego that utilized some of the first computer generated imagery in the world. At the same time he began studying Aikido and its healing art Kiatsu, which developed his capacity to work with the body’s subtle energies, as well as to treat physical ailments. He was accepted into the Masters program at U.S.C. Cinema School and was awarded the Verna Field Trophy for Best Student Film by the Motion Picture Sound Editor’s Union for his thesis film, The Owl’s Flight. Some of his other films include Super XuXa, Crystal Moon, and Dreams Awake. He currently experiments with image and sound in a variety of projects. In his book, Sound Design: The Expressive Power of Music, Voice, and Sound Effects in Cinema (Michael Wiese Productions 2001), you’ll gain an in-depth knowledge of the many facets of sound, how sound affects us physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually, and the impact sound has in helping us to convey the message of our story in film

We experience sound (hearing), before anything else, while still in our mother’s womb and it’s one of the most powerful senses that helps to shape our world. David will teach you how to fine-tune your listening skills and apply what you learn to creating a story in film that will captivate your audience and transport them into another time and place.

You’ll receive numerous tools, techniques, and insights to help you use sound to make not only physical transitions (such as changing from one scene location to another), but dramatic transitions as well (such as a character’s emotional shift or arc).

You’ll gain a better understanding of the different types of sounds we hear such as concrete sounds, voice, environmental noises, and music. You’ll learn that it’s not just the words we hear from dialog, but the way they are spoken that communicates volumes of information. David also explores the inner workings of our ears and explains how we hear and how we interpret what we hear, which helps us to make better sense of what’s going on around us.

David includes several interviews with some of Hollywood’s Academy Award-winning sound designers and top filmmakers such as Dane Davis (The Matrix, Boogie Nights, The Hand that Rocks the Cradle), George Watters (Pearl Harbor, The Hunt for Red October, The Rock), Gary Rydstrom (Titanic, Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan), Ben Burtt (Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., WALL-E), and Frank Serafine (Star Trek, Tron, The Addams Family). He also uses over 100 top films as examples including As Good As It Gets, Backdraft, The Godfather, Raging Bull, Schindler’s List, The Thomas Crown Affair, Top Gun, and The Conversation.

Sound Design is a must read for all filmmakers who want to enhance the story and characters in their screenplays and films, so their audience can feel more deeply about them. I also recommend it for anyone interested in learning how sound affects us in our everyday environments, so you can improve the quality of your life by becoming more aware.

To connect with David Sonnenshein, you can visit his website at and purchase a copy of Sound Design at Amazon , MWP, and other retailers.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Ecstasy of Surrender

12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life
by Judith Orloff, M.D.

Book Review
by Ann Baldwin

Judith Orloff, M.D. is a world-renowned leader and pioneer on the forefront of Energy Medicine, who specializes in Energy Psychiatry, which deals with subtle energies also known in the healing arts as ‘life force’. She is a psychiatrist in private practice and an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller Emotional Freedom as well as Dr. Judith Orloff’s Guide to Intuitive Healing, Positive Energy, and Second Sight. She is an international lecturer and workshop leader on the interrelationships of medicine, intuition, and spirituality. Her work has been featured in O Magazine, Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal, Self, Cosmo, The Washington Times, and the New York Post and she has appeared on The Today Show, The Dr. Oz Show, Good Morning America Health, CBS Early Show, CNN, A&E, PBS, and NPR. Judith is a blogger for the The Huffington Post and Psychology Today. In her new book, The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life (Harmony Books 2014), you’ll gain a better understanding of yourself in relation to power, money, people, animals, nature, pain, aging, and death, so you can live your life with more passion and freedom.

Judith covers the four main types of surrender: intellectual, physical/sensual, emotional, and spiritual. She has a profound clarity on each subject and uses excellent examples from her own personal and professional experiences, as well as from others, to bring her points home.

You’ll heighten your awareness of your environment through observation and Judith shows you how to awaken your sense of sound, touch, smell, taste, and intuition to enliven your body, sensuality, and connectedness with people, nature, and animals.

You’ll learn how to harness the neurochemicals of power such as the Alpha or Hard Powers to include adrenaline, testosterone, and dopamine and the Soft Powers to include endorphins, oxytocin, and serotonin.

You’ll benefit from practicing ‘The Art of Reading People’ as Judith includes techniques used by FBI profilers, also known as “Truth Wizards”, to improve your relationships personally and professionally.

You’ll enhance your skills in communicating as she shares her insights on how to relate to others (flaws and all) with compassion and you’ll also learn how to effectively deal with difficult people.

She explains how to do a simple ‘remote viewing’ to help you make more informed decisions about people and situations, whether it’s a film project you’re working on, hiring an employee, your children, a new love interest, or buying a new home.

When we learn to let go at the right times, we allow more flow with ease into our life like water passing through a creek bed. I highly recommend The Ecstasy of Surrender for everyone who wants to live a more abundant, creative, joyful, and happy life.

To connect with Judith Orloff, M.D., you can visit her website at and purchase a copy of The Ecstasy of Surrender at her website or Amazon.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Hollywood Game Plan

How to Land a Job in Film, TV, or Digital Entertainment
by Carole M. Kirschner

Book Review by Ann Baldwin

Carole Kirschner has earned the respect among her peers and worked as a senior-level creative television executive for sixteen years, including stints at CBS and as Vice President of Television at Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment, where she helped to develop Murphy Brown, Designing Women, and Steven Spielberg Presents Tiny Toon Adventures. She then became an educator, teaching at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and UCLA Extension. She created and runs two innovative training programs: The CBS Diversity Institute Writers Mentoring and The Hollywood Assistant Training Program. She worked with writer/producer Jeffrey Melvoin to develop curriculum for the Writers Guild of America Show-runner Training Program and as the director, is responsible for overseeing it. Carole leads popular industry seminars on networking, pitching, and self-marketing for creative professionals. Through her career consulting practice, she teaches clients what they need to do to succeed. In her book, Hollywood Game Plan: How to Land a Job in Film, TV, or Digital Entertainment (Michael Wiese Production 2012), Carole guides you through a step-by-step process, explaining the unwritten rules of breaking into Hollywood and rising up the ranks to build a solid, successful, and long-lasting career.

Whether you’re a new film student or recent grad, changing from one area within the industry to another, or transitioning from a different field of work outside the industry, Carole will not only get you through the gated doors of Hollywood, but also show you how to stay in the room and score the needed points to win your way to the top.

She’ll get you prepared, connected, focused, and hired. You’ll learn how to develop your ‘Personal A-Story’, where and how to properly network, and the three types of mentors to seek-out and cultivate a relationship with. Carole reveals her secrets to an effective job search with five simple steps, the power prep, and “giving good meeting”.

Each chapter includes Insider Tips, examples and quotes from current players working the field at all levels, and two fun and unique exercises to help you implement the strategies and accelerate your progress. You’ll also find an excellent Glossary of Industry Terminology, a humorous Hollywood-English Writers Dictionary, and an extensive Industry Resources Section along with sample resumes.

Hollywood Game Plan is like spring training; it prepares you for peak performance with the seasoned professionals, when every move counts. Carole is the perfect coach to help you get your game-face on, guide you through every play, and keep you going strong. I highly recommend Hollywood Game Plan for everyone entering into the film, TV, or digital entertainment industry or transitioning into a new area of the business, who wants to play their best ‘A’ game and secure their position as a member of the major leagues of Hollywood. 

To connect with Carole Kirschner, you can visit her website at and purchase a copy of Hollywood Game Plan at Michael Wiese Productions or Amazon.


Friday, January 17, 2014

What Do You Want To Know?

by Ann Baldwin

Yesterday, January 15, 2014, I posted this question to my Facebook friends, colleagues, and followers:

“If there was one thing you would want to know from or about me, what would it be?”

Anne Lower asked: What are you most afraid of?

Anne, fear is an emotion that I’ve had a strong interest in and gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about and experience with throughout my life. I respect the emotion of fear in its proper place; it is the emotion most associated with survival as any animal will tell you. There are three reactions to fear: flight, freeze, or fight; we either run away, do nothing, or face & hopefully conquer it.
The song by Kenny Rogers, The Gambler, comes to mind as a metaphor: “You’ve got to know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.”
Anne, I don’t know what I’m most afraid of ~
Here is an article I wrote a few years ago about the subject of fear ~

Gordana Kotorac asked: Did you use Quantum Jumping? 

Gordana, yes, and what I recently learned about Quantum Jumping by Burt Goldman is that it’s something I’ve been doing throughout most of my adult life, I just didn’t know there was a name for it; I’ve been communicating with spirits from different dimensions, usually receiving information from them.
For years, I always viewed those spirit guides as being separate from me and it wasn’t until I awoke to knowing that they’re a part of me, always connected with me, that I truly understood everything and anything is possible for all of us.
There are a few books that are long-time favorites of mine, Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain, Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, and The Secret by Rhonda Byrne that have contributed to what I’m talking about here.

Douglas MacIlroy asked: I would like to know that you are at peace.

Doug, peace is something we all strive for in our daily lives ~ while most of us are fortunate to experience just a few moments of peace in this conflicted, earthly world that we live in, we will probably never have the peace on earth that we all associate with heaven ~ that’s why we commonly say, “May she or he rest in peace,” after someone has passed on to the other side.
While I experience feelings of inner peace, it is not a constant feeling, just like the ocean is not in constant stillness. Our emotions and experiences are forever changing, just like the motions of the oceans; it’s the flow of life with its ups and downs that is a constant.

MaryAnn Wolf asked: What is your next project?

MaryAnn, I learned something about myself this past year; my writing habits are just like my reading habits in that I usually have 5 or 6 books that I’m reading at the same time and so it goes for my writing projects. So, it can be a challenge for me sometimes to just focus on one (keep in mind, I haven’t been paid money for my writing, yet. In other words, all of my screenplays are spec scripts and my books aren’t contracted and paid for by a publisher, yet).
I believe my writing is worth millions of dollars and I protect it as such; however, what I strive for most in my writing is for it to be priceless, because it has inspired and/or improved the quality of other’s lives beyond measure ~  My ultimate goal ~
So, after putting my current screenplay, The Writer’s Block, on the market, my next project to focus on completing for the sales market will probably be, The Lighthouse Within, which deals with human & animal emotions and matters of the heart ~ The Writer’s Block deals with the human mind and thought processes (it’s a comedy).

Ken Lee asked: What is your favorite city in the world?

Ken, San Francisco, CA is my favorite city to visit, because it has so many interesting people from all walks of life and so much diversity culture wise; it’s a beautiful city with an abundance of fun things to see and do. It is my icon for what I call HOME ~

Sheila Ball asked: What has made the biggest impact in your life?

Sheila, accepting and loving myself for who I am, which includes all of my faults as well as my gifts and living in the present moment, the here and now ~

Janet Judy asked: Do you have a favorite ‘inspiration location’?

Janet, outside in Mother Nature’s world and inside in the creative/imagination/dream world; in both places, I feel very connected with the Spirit world, which inspires me.

Donna Lee Vandekerkhove asked: Do you need an assistant?

Donna, not yet; however, I imagine and sense that I will very soon.