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The EXPECTING GOODNESS SHORT FILM FESTIVAL is nearly here. If you don’t have your tickets yet, you might miss out if you don’t get them asap right here. Experience the goodness!

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Expecting Goodness Teasers

Incredibly, the 2013 Expecting Goodness project films are due to me in exactly one month. My, how the months fly!

But this is an exciting time to be a part of the project because, as they move into post-production, the filmmakers are starting to share teasers of their films in photos and videos.

Here’s filmmaker Durham Harrison directing Grammy, played by Kathy Hartzog, in “Grammy’s Keys” (based on the story by Melinda Cotton).

Grammy's Keys

And here’s a shot from Jeff Driggers and Drew Baron’s “Pretty Pitiful God” (based on the story by Deno Trakas).

Pretty Pitiful God

And here’s a little featurette from Abe Duenas’ “Donde Come Uno, Comen Dos,” based on Lindy Keane Carter’s story “Sucker.”

And click here to see filmmaker Julie Sexeny, writer John Saylor, and organizer Kari Jackson (that’s me) on this morning’s Carolina Now talking about the Expecting Goodness project.

There’s more to come!

So if you want an experience like none other, and you want to see all of the 2013 films premiere, then you must, must, get your tickets soon for the March 23 festival at the Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg.

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Abe Duenas is a returning Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival filmmaker for the 2013 festival. Director of last year’s festival entry “The Widower’s Pearls,” Abe is a seasoned short filmmaker and plans an ambitious project for this year’s festival. Therefore, Abe Duenas has selected the slogan “Expect Artistry” for his project.

Follow Abe on Twitter.

Abe’s Facebook Page.

Abe’s Indie GoGo Campaign.

Every time I meet a new artist or someone who appreciates art in the Upstate, I think “wow, great– someone new who may appreciate what filmmakers in our area are doing.”

Last year, the Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival gave seven filmmakers the great opportunity to showcase their talent. I was overjoyed the night of the festival– right here, in our backyard, we were sharing what our crews had painfully crafted for the past three months. No one really knew what to expect from the other entries, but judging from the sold out crowds, we knew it would be a great night for this emerging medium in Spartanburg.

Last year, we produced “The Widower’s Pearls,” a film about how a father must carry on as a widowed man, raising three daughters. The story takes place in a familiar diner where he deals with the different challenges that three different ages come with. He ultimately faces a life changing challenge that very night with one of his daughters.

Last year’s film was a strict adaptation of the original story. This year, the story I selected was “Sucker” by Lindy Keane Carter. I strongly recommend following the link to the story, since I will be shooting a film based on it. I wanted to do something different this year. I wanted to shoot a film that was inspired by the characters of the original story. In “Sucker,” the story ends with the reader not knowing exactly what will happen. My film will pick up from where those characters were and give my own interpretation of “what if?” The title of my film is “Donde Come Uno, Comen Dos” (Where One Eats, Two Can Eat). It’s based on an old saying my father would always tell my brothers and me when he wanted to teach us the importance about sharing and what we gain from doing so. In the film, we will see how our main character learns how one can never be too old to come to some of life’s most important lessons. Those lessons are the importance of having friends (even if they are not what you expected or wanted) and how important it is to tell those close to you how you feel about them.

As part of this year’s project, I am also reaching out to the community and offering opportunities for them to get involved. I have an indiegogo campaign that I have launched to raise a little bit of funds to cover my actors and crew’s travel expenses, plus set design and equipment. For those involved, there will be perks and chances for sponsorship. Also, businesses that are interested will get additional perks, such as a video made by me and graphic design work.

With so many being part of this year’s film festival, the excitement and anxiousness will be double from what it was last year. But I think this is a good thing. I know everyone will be bringing their very best to the show. I plan to put every ounce of artistry I can into this project. I wish that every film I see that is not mine is better than what I produced; if this is the case, we’re all in for an awesome night.

I will be posting updates frequently, so please follow me or contact me if you would like to be involved with my film.

–Abe Duenas

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A Word to the Novel-Adapting Movie Maker

By: F.B. Wood
Part of the Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival

F.B.’s Twitter.

F.B. is currently a student at USC Upstate and a prolific writer. To quote his Twitter page, F.B. uses the written word to “smith together sentences for both fiction and ad-copy while simultaneously tending to the needs of my 3 year old daughter.”

I have seen many movies that were based on or adapted from a novel or short story–A Clockwork Orange, Watchmen, and Children of the Corn. In each and every case I understand that there is a new creative director at the helm of the project. They want their ideas to be expressed alongside the ideas already presented in the story or novel. In some cases there is no choice but for this to happen as sometimes the author has passed on and in other cases the author is too busy. This passing of the “wand” is something that should happen as fresh eyes always help bring to light new perspectives. With that being said, I wanted to share a few guidelines that I, as an avid book reader and movie viewer, would like to share about adapting the novel for the silver screen.

    1. Maintain the original plot.

This is the base for both the novel and the inspiration that drove you to want to make the movie. In the movie making process, there are a lot of decisions to be made in regards to the final product. Many parts of the novel have to be removed. But don’t let someone talk you out of the original plot. In some cases, the backdrop of a story is the inspiration of the film and a new plot is generated; such was the case with Children of the Corn. If this does indeed happen, avoid future condemning from book enthusiasts and just pick a new title for the movie.

    1. Do not introduce new main characters.

Many times you want to help explain a protagonist’s choice in certain circumstances. So, instead of embracing the inner monologue that prose gets to many directors choice to add in a scene of dialogue to help explain. This in turn generates a new character in order for the protagonist to bounce ideas off of. It’s fine if you create a gas station attend that hears the protagonist mumble and then questions him, but please do not add a whole new sidekick like in Children of the Corn thus completely changing the dynamic of the main character and his decision making process.

    1. Have characters make new decisions based on their old personalities.

If you do decide to take the plot in a new direction, but find the characters to irresistible to let go make sure and keep them true to who they were originally written as. If the character is faced with a new choice to make research how they might act on this to help better decide which way they would go. Alex in A Clockwork Orange breaks into the Home residence by himself in Kubrick’s movie, but does it with his droogs in the novel. This launches the protagonist into a new height of absurdity in the movie.

    1. Change the ending as little as possible.

This is a problem that runs rampant through quite a few movies. Directors feel that because they add so much to a story that they are then free to create how they choose. This is fine as long as you change the title of your movie. The reason you’re turning the book into a movie is because so many people were moved by the novel as a whole. Try to keep that in mind when presenting it for the silver screen. Many times characters’ personalities are destroyed by a new ending; take Watchmen, for example.

    1. Keep as much of the original dialogue as possible.

If the character was written with a Scottish accent then he should maintain the same speech patterns in the movie that he was given in the book. He should use the same slang in the same manner. When you take creative liberties with something like this, it radically changes how the character is perceived by the audience.

If you are only using a portion of the story, like just its characters or setting, make sure to stay as faithful to that character or setting as you can. The changes you make beyond that are yours. My biggest piece of advice would be to change the title and say it was inspired by this novel. However, if you are trying to stay faithful to the novel in its truest form, make sure to keep these guidelines in mind.

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Expecting Goodness: LAUNCHED

One week ago we invited all of the 2013 filmmakers and writers to The Showroom to meet each other and the public. It was our official launch of the four-month project that is the Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival. As of now, the project is ON, the stories are transitioning into films, the filmmakers are building their cast and crew. And we’re super excited.


Filmmakers meet the public at Launch Night.

Chris and Emily

Chris White and Emily Reach White talk with Josh Foster about their experience in the 2012 Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival.


Filmmakers Drew Baron and Jeff Driggers talk alongside writer Deno Trakas, whose story “Pretty Pitiful God” they will use as inspiration for a short film.

Didn’t make it to Launch Night but still want to get involved? SIGN UP HERE.

We have our first four project events within the span of a week, the first happening (right now, actually) is the Screenwriting Workshop with Chris White and Emily Reach White (thanks to Paris MTN Scout for donating their time and expertise!).


Emily and Chris lead the screenwriting workshop in The Showroom.

Tonight, we welcome the hilarious and poignant Susan Isaacs to The Showroom for hersolo show Angry Conversations with God. Wednesday is our first in the Story to Screen series, where we invite you to read the story “Brokeback Mountain” and then watch the movie with us at the Spartanburg Library Headquarters, followed by a discussion. And, our final 2012 project event before it really kicks off in January is The Epic Spartanburg premiere with Steve Snell (which, we promise, truly will be EPIC) on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 7pm in The Showroom.

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Expecting Goodness: How it’s done

We’re a nonprofit, as you know, which means we often have (and get) to be creative. Well, we did just that Monday night when we held our first-ever livestreamed event to select the filmmakers and stories/writers that would be a part of the 2013 project.


Stephen tests the lighting and the sound in our makeshift set in our Hub City Writers Project office as we get ready to go live.


Lighting is very important when you’re deciding important things.


It’s decided!

Only the registered filmmakers and writers could watch Stephen, Alf, and I as we drew names to determine the 7 emerging and 7 experienced filmmakers and their selected stories that would make up our project (MEET THEM HERE). We can also now reveal that our surprise 15th filmmaker is Abe Duenas, whom we have invited back as our 2012 Best Film winner for The Widower’s Pearls. (And whoever wins 2013 Best Film will be invited back in 2014.)

We’re thrilled to introduce the 15 filmmakers and 15 writers to you at Launch Night on Saturday, when you can meet them and sign up to help on the films. In the meantime, here’s a look at them by the numbers:

  • 6 of the 15 stories are South Carolina Fiction Project winners
  • 11 women are in as writers or filmmakers
  • 8 of the 30 participants are from Spartanburg

Let’s look at it in map-form, shall we? I think we can safely say 2013 is a statewide film festival. So exciting!

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Natalia Newcastle tells you how it is

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Year two, and we want you

We started talking about the second Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival on its inaugural night, as we celebrated with wine and conversation in the Zarza bar. What had been an experiment had become a success–beyond our thoughts but not beyond our dreams. We immediately started thinking about how we could grow it while maintaining the grassroots feel, the closeness to the films, the showcase of talented writers and filmmakers.

After several months of meetings we settled on making our little one-of-a-kind festival a SOUTH CAROLINA festival: our state’s writers connected with our state’s filmmakers. If the mission was to showcase talent, why not showcase our state’s talent?

So phase one was to find writers and their stories. We reached out to state organizations, schools, and publications for their recent contest winners, and then we reached out to writers across the state to send us their recently-published stories. What we got was 35 stories from writers all across the state: Greenville, Spartanburg, Columbia, Mt. Pleasant, Beaufort, and all over in between. What we got was a treasure of stories for filmmakers to choose from to use as inspiration for a short film this year. What we got was really excited about the whole 2013 project!

And here we go! Filmmaker registration starts one week from tomorrow, September 19, right here. If you’re a South Carolina emerging or experienced filmmaker, we want you in the project. Yes, WE WANT YOU!

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The Goodness

Warning: This post will be filled with thanks.

“Who knew?”

That was one of the last things Stephen said to me last night after midnight, after the after-party, after the film festival, after months of preparation, as we locked up The Showroom. Seriously, the Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival was one of the most rewarding nights I’ve had and, hopefully, it was just as rewarding for all of the filmmakers, writers, volunteers, actors, crews, donors, and everyone involved in putting that night and project together.

But, first, you probably want to know the award winners, huh? Here you go!

Best Cinematography (Juried): Jessica Hollingsworth, DOBRA OJCA

Best Editing (Juried): Adam T. Gordon, The Nipper

Best Actor/Actress (Juried): Madison Nulty, The Widower’s Pearls

Best Film (Juried): The Widower’s Pearls (Abe Duenas, director)

Audience Favorite: DOBRA OJCA (Chris White, director)

But thank you and congratulations to all seven filmmakers, their casts and crews: Porter Blackman, Andrew Doughman, Abe Duenas, Adam T. Gordon, Jason Kruczynski, Wade Sellers, and Chris White.

Thank you to all of the writers in Expecting Goodness who trusted their stories in the hands of filmmakers, and especially to the seven writers whose stories were selected: Kathryn Brackett, Susan Tekulve, Thomas McConnell, Norman Powers, Jeremy L.C. Jones, Michel Stone, and Lou Dischler.

Thank you to our amazing host Julie Sexeny, who kept the whole night running smoothly, and whom we love having in Spartanburg. Thank you to our talented, wise judges, Peter Caster, Ray Merlock, and Jeff Sumerel, for taking the time to be a part of this start-up project and supporting these filmmakers in more ways than showed last night.

Thank you AiR Steve Snell for sharing “The Epic Spartanburg” and several of the 18 Heroic (re)Production videos–you were the perfect visual end to the night!

Thank you to AiR Mark Rice for providing the theme song for the night: “11” by THIT. It was perfect, no? (Come celebrate all of this year’s AiRs during their Exit Show reception on Friday, March 30 from 7-9pm at The Showroom!)

Thank you to our incredible volunteers who make everything we do at HUB-BUB and Hub City Writers Project possible, and especially to our EGSFF Sub-Committee Luke Meagher, Carlee Ormond, and Darryl Harmon–you three made us the best team with your ideas and work along the way. Thank you to Sara Hamilton, Cheryl Mirer, Lyn Radke,  Christine Cox, and Maddox for your help last night and all other days and nights (yep, we like you a lot).

Thank you to our executive directors Betsy Teter and Celia Cooksey for your help and support in all ways every day and last night. A special thanks to Betsy, without whom there would have been no Expecting Goodness stories to use as inspiration for these films (and no HUB-BUB, no HCWP, etc.). And to our HubCulture Board Chairwoman Rebecca Ramos for her tireless support of our organization and all we do; no task is too small, no task is too large, and we are all the better to have you as our biggest champion.

Thank you to Aaron Pate, our new best friend, at USC-Upstate Digital Media Services. You’re a magic-maker, and we couldn’t have done it without you. We hope this is the start of a lasting partnership with you and USC-Upstate!

Thank you to Brian and Terry of Ridge Runner Media for filming the whole night after a last-minute request (which y’all will see at the re-screening on April 18), and for all of your past and future enthusiasm for supporting HUB-BUB. Heroes!

Thank you to our donors BB&T, Carolina Auction Team, Don Finkell, Security Finance & Susan Bridges, whose generous support made the festival possible because, though we like to forget this fact, big ideas and projects like this actually cost money.

Thank you to our local businesses Zarza, Venus Pie Pizzeria, The Urban Planter, Blue Moon Sauces, Little River Coffee Bar, and Fairytale Treats for supporting this local event–we have so much to be proud of here in Spartanburg!

Thank you to everyone who came last night, who filled every seat in The Showroom, who told your friends about the festival, who said I believe in the arts in Spartanburg and South Carolina by taking a chance on this brand new project. You make us SO PROUD, Spartanburg!

And, though I’m writing this on behalf of all of us organizers, three cheers for Stephen Long and his vision for The Showroom, for his patience along the way with my obsessiveness, for his technical prowess with lighting, sound, and design, and for his endless passion for what HUB-BUB and this town can do.

Oh, and to Honorary Golden BUB recipient Josh Foster! You weren’t expecting that were you, Josh? We like surprises. And especially surprise honors to a man who had this little idea for a film festival, shared his idea, and helped make it happen in so many ways. Josh is proof that if you have a vision, and you share it, it can come true. You are golden, Josh, and we’re so lucky to have you in Spartanburg.

I told you there would be a lot of thanks. Needless to say, it was a pretty darn good night. The start of a new tradition. The making of new relationships. The celebration of our talented and enthusiastic community.

And if you missed out, come by HUB-BUB and get your $5 ticket to the April 18 re-screening. You will want to see these seven films, which I’m sure will have lives beyond this festival.

Last night was all goodness. And I’m expecting more in the years to come with this project.


PS We know many of you were taking photos last night–please share with us! Email to kari@hubcity.org or post to our Facebook page. Thanks!

And here’s the video that kicked off the festival, just in case you were still wondering how it all came together and what it all means.

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We didn’t know

When Josh Foster, Stephen, and I started planning/dreaming the Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival last October, we didn’t know if it would work.

We didn’t know if the writers from the book Expecting Goodness would allow filmmakers to use their stories as inspiration for films. We didn’t know that 18 of the 20 writers would respond with enthusiastic yesses.

We knew there were filmmakers in the region, but we didn’t know if any of them would respond to our call for filmmakers to take part in this pop-up festival, this one-of-a-kind project. We didn’t know if they would want to use a story as inspiration and make a film in two months.

When seven filmmakers registered and came to the launch night on January 11, we didn’t know if they would believe in the project enough to follow it through, to actually make their films. We didn’t know if we’d have seven films on March 24th.

As the project moved forward, and we saw the films coming together, and we made sure you, our community, felt involved through events like Film Fan Night and the Heroic (re)Production film workshop, and heard about the progress of these films through the HUB-BUB Blog, we hoped the community would get invested, but we didn’t know. We hoped people would want to come to the festival to see the completed films, but we didn’t know.

We didn’t know that in the three weeks leading up to the festival that the VIP tickets would sell out, that we’d have so many people emailing and calling trying to reserve tickets, that we’d need to schedule a re-screening.

We hoped, but we didn’t know that this would be the first annual Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival. We didn’t know that so many people would already be talking about how they want to be in it next year.

Essentially, we’re BLOWN AWAY by the response we’ve gotten so far. This experiment has proven itself beyond our dreams.

So, for everyone who wants to see these films but either can’t come on Saturday or tickets sell out before they get in, you can purchase $5 tickets in advance for the April 18 re-screening at 7pm at The Showroom, which will feature director’s cuts of several of the films. 130 tickets are available for that screening.

And if that second screening sells out, we’ll work on a third screening because we want as many people as possible to see these films, to be a part of the project.

And if you want to come Saturday night but don’t have a  ticket yet, we suggest lining up by 6:00 at The Showroom entrance. We’ll open the doors and sell general admission tickets starting at 6:30 until we run out.

So, Spartanburg, THANK YOU for believing in this project and for your enthusiasm over these stories and these films. You amaze us every day!


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