Monday, October 1, 2012


I had a dream.

Even before the judges had completed selection of the stories to be included in The Whole She-Bang, I had a vision of a youtube ad, featuring one sentence from each story.

My first concept was to do a Power Point slide presentation, with each slide a different colour, paging through a rainbow of backgrounds, with the sentence featured in contrasting type.

I spent an hour or so playing with Power Point. Being no expert, I couldn’t see how to do it. With this anthology being published by the volunteer organization of Sisters in Crime (Toronto Chapter), there were no funds to find a professional or get training. I could have tried harder to figure that part out, but sometime not long after my second attempt, I had another idea.

My friend Helen has a niece and nephew that are often lending a hand with various book lover activities. What if the sentences were portrayed on Bristol board pages, being held up by kids? This is a collection of mystery stories, some of the lines hold clearly murderous intent. Wouldn’t that be a catchy juxtaposition? For the best reading of the lines, and knowing that participation would be low if the children’s faces were to be included, the camera would be focused on the cards, but they’d be held by little hands. Ooh, and what if we had fun painting their nails? Bright red, sparkly red, some black…ooh and one friend suggested gloves!

Finding children available on a Saturday afternoon is not so easy. Fall classes for dance, swimming, other sports, music lessons, and family visits all limited my actor pool. And when I presented the concept to our marketing team, a couple raised the concern that a viewer might think The Whole She-Bang was a children’s book.So we sent out the casting call to the members of our Chapter: “Lend A Hand”. Helen Nelson enthusiastically offered to film the video using her Blackberry Playbook. Then she generously loaned her house for our film studio.

So Saturday afternoon, Sept 29th, I arrived with a colourful array of words on Bristol board. Inadvertently, while assembling these at the office, my desk a cat-free flat surface, I realized the bright variety of papers do draw attention. Co-workers who normally don’t chat with me, stopped to ask what I was doing. Even at Helen’s, our volunteers had fun scanning the cards before we started rehearsals.Helen was an excellent director, knowing the distance, methods, and ordering of action that would make the effort succeed. She also suggested some wonderful accoutrements, such as a lipstick-kissed wine glass, opera gloves and beads to border the setting for our mysterious words.

We filmed four complete run-throughs. We were trying to be silent for the filming, so that sound could be added afterwards. There were a couple of timing hiccups, and to my mortification my cell phone went off. In the final run, her cat, Pirate Jenny put in a good meow. I hope that stays in!

Next we will select appropriate music, with no copyright infringement issues, and get a little editing from one another volunteer.

Soon, our deliberately amusing, hand-made selection of lines from The Whole She-Bang will be available on youtube.

I had a dream. Be sure to see it!

For the past four years, Janet Costello has been editor of the newsletter for the Toronto Chapter of Sisters in Crime. She has attended 7 Bouchercons, 7 Bloody Words and, most recently, her first Left Coast Crime. Her rush reading pile holds more than 300 books. She is the editor of The Whole She-Bang, a collection of short stories by Canadians, coming as an e-book this month, from the Toronto Chapter of Sisters in Crime. Watch for a launch near you!

1 comment:

  1. What fun, Janet! I hope the cat's meow sounds suitably sinister. Can't wait to see the final product.