12 Winters Blog

Filmmaker Jovanna Tosello and a little Gogol

Posted in October 2010 by Ted Morrissey on October 3, 2010

In my last posting I neglected to mention a recent (exciting!) development regarding my forthcoming novel Men of Winter — perhaps it slipped my mind because it’s just too darn cool to be true. A couple of postings ago I mentioned attending the Route 66 International Film Festival and seeing a short animated film, The Magical Porno Theater, that was a real mind-bender. As I watched the film, I started ruminating about the fact that I really wanted to have some sort of video piece associated with my novel (I’ll use the somewhat crass term “a book trailer”), and wouldn’t it be terrific if the Magical Porno filmmaker, Jovanna Tosello, would develop something incredible based on Men of Winter? So I took a chance, found her on the web and hence her gmail address, sent my heart-felt kudos about her film and gingerly floated the idea of her putting something together based on my book, if she had the time and interest (expecting, quite frankly, for her to say thanks, but no thanks). I suspect you can guess where this blog is headed: she said yes. Wow. As I told her in my email, I would rather there was a video out there that drew attention to my book that was also a piece of art in itself, as opposed to any old trailer whose sole purpose in the cosmos is to sell a couple copies of Men of Winter.

Jovanna apparently originally hails from Reykjavik, Iceland, but now lists her location as Los Angeles. According to her website, she has a BFA in character animation from California Institute of the Arts, and she’s working on her MFA in animation and digital art at USC. You can check out The Magical Porno Theater on Vimeo, along with some of Jovanna’s other animated film work — and I highly recommend it. You can also find out more about Jovanna and view her work at her blogger site. To say that I’m thrilled to have Jovanna’s talent and creativity lending their services to my modest novel doesn’t begin to describe it.

In other news, I’ve been reading Adam Braver’s Crows over the Wheatfield, and his work always reminds me of the Russian masters, and as such I developed a yen for some Nikolai Gogol and have been reading a bit from Dead Souls (1842), a novel I’ve been curious about for some time. I wasn’t expecting it to be so downright funny. One of my favorite lines thus far occurs when the main character, Tchitchikoff, and his driver have lost their way at night in a terrible rainstorm, and they come upon a house, immediately to be greeted by some “ill-tempered” dogs — Gogol writes, “[O]ne, throwing back his head, gave a prolonged howl, with as much care as though he had received wages for it” (p. 41, 1966 Airmont edition, trans. Zoe Girling).

Meanwhile, I’ve been working away on the Authoress, my novel in progress, and am feeling very good about the way the narrative is shaping up. The writing is slow, but it progresses. I’m nearly finished with chapter 18 and am at the 290-plus manuscript page mark. It’s all rather nebulous, but I hope to have a complete draft of the novel by next summer, in about another 100 pages or so.

tedmorrissey.com