Stay tuned – Pencil Heads is on Maternity leave…

I hope all of you young writers out there are having a great 2013 so far! Due to the fact that Andrea is on maternity leave (and working on both an animated film and tv pilot), workshops and tutoring will resume in late summer or early fall. Please join the mailing list for updates!  

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Pop History with a Side of Hilarious

It’s about time Kermit returned from his hiatus!

As reported by Cynopsis, “Jim Henson’s puppets will be featured in a new scripted television show titled ‘History Of.'”

That means, our favorite Muppets will give their own silly interpretation of how certain events really went down. Statler and Waldorf are sure to have something to say about that.

We can’t wait!

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Dog Writes Book!

 

Who knew dogs could write? The publishing community is celebrating the first book ever written entirely by a dog. The author is Zuzu, a 2 year-old Collie mix, pictured in her author headshot above. The book, entitled “Diary of a Dog” has recently been published by Doggone Press and is certain to hit bestseller lists soon.

Apparently, the project began when Zuzu’s owner, Andrea Scully, found a note on her kitchen floor. “The handwriting was terrible,” she said. “But the message was clear: Buy me more bones. After that, I began finding notes everywhere.” The notes became longer and longer as Zuzu got the hang of holding a marker in her paws. Other notes recounted what really happened when Zuzu got into a squabble at the dog park, why she ate Andrea’s new running shoes, and why the doorbell makes her go completely bananas. She also asked Andrea to get rid of the vacuum for good.

Zuzu’s owner compiled all of the notes into “Diary of a Dog,” which was released last month. Some book reviewers have said the book’s pace is slow, especially when Zuzu recounts the details of her days (slept, ate, chewed bone) over and over again, but the climax of her trip to the vet left many biting their fingernails. Perhaps the sequel will be even better?

 

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Writing Exercise #5: Fly on the Wall

“I wish I was a fly on the wall” is a common expression that you have probably heard before. Usually, the person who says it is wishing that they could be hidden in a room, eavesdropping on a conversation that may or may not be any of his business. No one ever worries what they are talking about when a fly is in the room, but maybe they should…

Your writing assignment (should you choose to accept it) is to write a story from the perspective of a fly. Be the fly on the wall. Flap your wings. Buzz your buzz. And listen to a very secret conversation. What happens next? (Hopefully, it doesn’t involve a flyswatter!)

 

 

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Write a letter to Japan

As I’m sure you know by now, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan on March 11th. It’s hard not to feel sad when we watch the news each day.

Although you may be far away from Japan, there is something you can do to help lift the spirits of the people who live there. Jessie Zanutig teaches English in Japan, and she has established a cause called “3,000 Letters for Japan.” She would like to deliver a handwritten letter or picture to every child whose life has been turned upside down by this terrible tragedy, beginning with students in the Miyagi region of Japan.

I have copied her requests for the project below from Facebook:

“The project is simple. Write a personal letter from the heart. Keep it light and keep it simple.

• Print clearly. Or, draw pictures that convey your sentiments. The youngest students will appreciate a page of pictures!
• Decorate your letter with drawings, stickers – boys and girls love “cute”.
• Use colored paper or have fun with crayons and markers to jazz up white paper.
• Sign your letter with your biggest and messiest rock star-like signature. They adore signatures as much or even more than stickers!
• Please don’t put anything in the envelope other than the letter (ie., trinkets or toys). It creates bulk and additional postage charges but more importantly, avoids creating envy among children who do not receive a gift in their letter. Your gift is your personal letter.
• Put each letter in its own envelope. Mark on the envelope if your letter is best suited for a younger child or an older junior high student. If you are doing one or several letters, put all the envelopes in a larger envelope and mail to me at my address below.
•Include your printed name and a return address on the letter if you would like a response, although that’s a guarantee I can’t make.

Send your letter package to me:

Jessie Zanutig
Gunma-ken Tone-gun
Kawaba-mura Yubara 2707-8
378-0102
Japan

Aim to mail your envelope of letter(s) by Friday, April 22nd if possible.”

If you would like to read more about this project, go to the “Letters for Japan” page on Facebook. This simple act of kindness can bring a smile to a child’s face on the other side of the world.

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Join Script Frenzy!

FADE-IN: 14 DAYS FROM TODAY

INT. YOUR ROOM – AFTERNOON

A young writer (you) sits down at the computer to begin writing a brilliant, hilarious, fun, slightly (but not too frightening) scary screenplay with several heartbreaking (but not too sappy) moments.

“But where do I begin?” you ask.

Scriptfrenzy.org is your answer.

“But what is Scriptfrenzy?” you respond. (You sure do talk to yourself a lot.)

“Script Frenzy is an international writing event in which participants attempt the creatively daring feat of writing an entire script in the month of April,” says ScriptFrenzy.org.

It’s fun, it’s free, and it begins on April 1st. Sign up today, and you can start answering your next question…

“What the heck am I going to write a whole screenplay about?”

We, at Pencil Heads, can’t wait to find out.

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Writing Exercise #4: Finding a Broken Piece of Rainbow

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Ready to write a story?

Imagine that, on the way to school, you find a broken piece of rainbow in the gutter. You pick up that piece of rainbow and put it in your pocket. What happens next? Does the piece of rainbow have magical powers? Does it transport you to another place?

Be sure to email your stories to thepencilheads@pencilheads.com!

 

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Pencil Head featured on Good Morning America!

Can you define torque? August Seiple can– and he beat out the anchor on Good Morning America in a recent competition.

Check out August Seiple– Pencil Head and Student Extraordinaire– in this clip from Good Morning America!

Way to go, August!

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And the Oscar went to… Dr. Seuss!

Dr. Seuss didn’t just write children’s books. He also animated movies!

In 1950, Dr. Suess won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film. His film, “Gerald McBoing-Boing” was based on his story with the same title. It’s about a little boy who only spoke in sound effects.

Watch it here (it’s just under 7 minutes):

Gerald McBoing-Boing

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Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! (And what kind of doctor was he?)

Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904. If he were still alive, he would have been 107 years young today!

“Dr. Seuss” was Theodor Geisel’s pen name or pseudonym, which means that he wasn’t really a doctor. It was just a name he decided to use when he wrote something that was published. Authors choose pen names for lots of different reasons. Sometimes they want to hide their identity. Sometimes they don’t like their real name. Or, sometimes they just want a name that is both unusual and easy to remember– like “Lemony Snicket.”

Dr. Seuss supposedly chose his pen name after he got in trouble at school, and the dean of  Dartmouth College told him that he couldn’t work on the school’s humor magazine– “The Jack-o-Lantern”– anymore. Theodor enjoyed writing for the magazine so much that he began publishing his articles under the pen name “Seuss.” Guess the name stuck because that’s who we remember him as today!

In honor of Dr. Seuss, the National Education Association has declared March 2nd as “National Read Across America Day.” Celebrate Dr. Seuss with a book today– or a plate of green eggs and ham. Would you eat them in a box? Would you eat them with a fox?

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