Announcing… The Aspie Dialogues!

Hi, everybody! I wanted to check back in while it’s still Autism Awareness Month with an exciting cross-collaboration between the Aspie Epilogue and my other website, CGE Studios. I call it…

THE ASPIE DIALOGUES! *cue trumpets*

What is it?

Why, it’s a monthly companion video to the Aspie Epilogue, of course! I wanted to bring CGE Studios and the Aspie Epilogue together to create something truly unique to the discussion of Autism Awareness and the next steps it needs to take. I’ve been working hard to bring this particular episode out while it’s still Autism Awareness Month.

*Psst… There’s still 75 minutes left. That still counts, right?*

Why create a video series in conjunction with the blog? The blog’s not ending, is it?

Chillax! The blog’s not going anywhere! I just wanted to expand the conversation about Autism Awareness to more audiences. The blog will still continue as planned. In fact, viewers can even suggest new topics for the video series to discuss. In May, we’re going to discuss a topic that’s hitting hard and close to home for many people, right now. More on that when I post it.

Where can I watch this fabled video series of legend? I must see it!

Easy there! I love the enthusiasm, but let’s keep the excitement manageable. You will be able to view all the episodes of The Aspie Dialogues right here on The Aspie Epilogue! See how easy that is? In fact, here’s the pilot episode below. Enjoy!

I hope this was a happy Autism Awareness Month for everyone! I’m looking forward to next year! Peace out.

Changing Directions…

By now, I’ve noticed that I haven’t received submissions for this year’s Puzzle Pride Campaign yet. At this point, I have no reason to suspect that I will by the deadline. That’s fine; I haven’t really been pushing it as hard as I should have been, and that was entirely my fault.

However!

Yes, there is an attachment to this statement… However, I do have something really nice to share with you all, possibly in its place.

I don’t want to talk too much about concrete details, but I assure you it is coming.

…in May.

I promise this will be good. Just hang in there with me on this.

That’s it for the Puzzle Pride Campaign news for now. As for Carry On, my original screenplay…

I have entered it into three competitions at the same time. I’m hoping at least one of them will bite. If not, then I will engage in a massive revision I’ve been brainstorming about. I find out about contest #1 in June; I won’t know about the others until July.

I do greatly appreciate everybody who has liked the screenplay on Skripteez.com so far. You all are wonderful! Let’s keep the momentum rolling on that!

I’m not sure if there will be a Puzzle Pride Award recipient this year, but I promise you will enjoy what I’m working on this month in regards to the Aspie Epilogue. Suffice it to say, I want to foster conversation, or dare I say… “dialogues?” You’ll understand when you see it.

Have a wonderful Autism Awareness Month, everybody!

Big Announcement Just in Time for Autism Awareness Month!

Before I get to the big announcement, I just want to address the lack of nominations for the Puzzle Pride Campaign I’ve received. I really want this year to be a success, so I’m going to extend the deadline to April 30. That’s not really the best case scenario I was hoping for, but it is what it is.

Perhaps, people don’t feel as comfortable putting themselves out there as I do, and that’s okay. So, what I’m going to do instead is tweak the rules a bit to something more people might be comfortable with.

1. ANY Puzzle Piece can be nominated for this award, now. That includes parents, siblings, caretakers, friends, family, and the actual Spectrumites (Is that a word? It is now. :) Patent Pending!)

2. You now have until 11:59 PM on Thursday, April 30, 2015 to submit your nominations for the Puzzle Pride Award.

3. You must contact me through either my email listed on the site’s contact page, the Aspie Epilogue Facebook page, or through any other means listed on the site’s contact page.

4. Please inform me WHY this person or these people (if you’re nominating more than one person) has been so inspirational to you. This is important. There’s no right or wrong answer here. Just go with what’s on your mind from the bottom of your heart.

Now that we have that out of the way, I’d like to address the big announcement:

I recently set up a Skripteez account to promote my graduate thesis, a 108-page feature-length screenplay called Carry On.

After nearly a full year of getting nowhere in screenwriting contests with this screenplay, I’ve decided to take a different approach to getting my screenplay out to its intended audience. If I’m lucky enough, it may even fall into the right hands to get optioned by a studio. I don’t know if I’m that lucky, though.

So, what does any of this have to do with the Aspie Epilogue? Here’s the screenplay’s logline (NOTE: Loglines are extremely difficult to write, as they must boil down, in this case, 108 pages into one sentence.):

A teenage Aspie must win a contest to appear on the latest hit reality show and impress the girl he likes.

As for a more detailed synopsis of the screenplay, here’s that, too:

Raising a child on the Autism Spectrum is difficult, but growing up as an Aspie can be overwhelming. Nobody knows that better than Jude Dunn (JD).

Whether fighting high school bullies, getting the girl, or simply winning a spot on a new hit reality show, JD wrestles with what it means to be an Aspie. Through the support of his friend, Amy, and his band, The Nitro Pumpkins, JD begins a journey through 12th grade that will impact the lives of everyone he meets. For some there will be a happy ending; for others, not so much. Will Amy ever know how JD feels about her? Will JD clinch his rise to fame? The scars of the past will bleed as JD battles his greatest foe: himself.

When I watch a character with ASD in a movie or on TV, 9 times out of 10, I see a robot or Rain Man. That doesn’t really do the ASD community justice. If you meet an Aspie, you’ve met one Aspie. ASD affects different people in different ways. Parenthood on NBC is as close as I’ve ever seen to a TV show or a movie “getting it right.”

In Carry On, our Aspergian protagonist, JD, is more lively than that. He’s colorful, he’s irreverent, and he’s vulnerable to his own self-inflicted insecurities. What brings him down could very well be the very personality traits that could someday lift him up. He just needs to learn how to balance that fine line of when to say something and when to shut his mouth. We all have those moments.

This isn’t just another ASD flick trying to raise awareness of ASD. Rather, it’s a film that shows how universal ASD is through the eyes of one Aspie with his own symptoms and coping methods.

If you would like to read Carry On, it is available on Loglinr for free. Just follow this link.

I will continue to keep you updated on my progress, as I try to get a buyer for the screenplay. I have also entered it in this year’s Page Awards Screenwriting Contest. I won’t know how that works out until July at the soonest.

Until then, find peace with yourself, within yourself. And don’t forget to nominate your favorite candidate for the Puzzle Pride Award this year!

Puzzle Pride Campaign 2015 Ground Rules

Hi, I just wanted to give you all some guidelines for this year’s…

PUZZLE PRIDE CAMPAIGN!!!!!!!!!!!

*cue the dramatic echo*

 

In past years, the winners have all been, for lack of a better term, high-profile. Which is fine, but I had originally intended the Puzzle Pride Campaign to be more accessible to the average Puzzle Piece. Whether this person is a friend, a care-giver, a family member, etc., is immaterial. I wanted this to be about YOU. So, this year, I’m giving more guidelines to foster the discussion.

1. All nominations must be emailed to me at jondorfman@aspieepilogue.com with the subject line: “PUZZLE PRIDE 2015″ by 11:59 PM on Sunday, March 15, 2015. NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS RULE!

2. You may nominate up to three people for this award. You may even nominate yourself, if you so choose. You may NOT nominate yourself three times. Once you’ve used up your three nominations, they are gone. They are gone until next year.

3. The theme for this year (YES! We have a theme, this year!) is “A Source of Inspiration.” For this year’s award, I want the nominations to surround the Puzzle Pieces in your life who inspire you in any way, shape, or form. So, this means that the only people I should receive nominations for are people on the Autism Spectrum (Autisms, Asperger’s Syndrome, PDD, PDD-NOS, Rhett Syndrome, etc.). I want this to be about the people who deserve the most say in all of this: the people who hold a diagnosis, themselves, and inspire their loved ones in even the smallest of ways possible. Inspiration is inspiration, no matter the amount.

4. With this in mind, when you submit your nominations, make sure you have this person’s (or these people’s if you’re nominating more than once) permission to disclose his, her, or their disability(-ies) for the world to see. I don’t want to violate any HIPAA laws with this. So only nominate people who want the exposure.

5. Your nominations should also include a small blurb about why this person (for each person you nominate) should receive the Puzzle Pride Award in 2015. This is where you plead your case. What about him or her inspires you, and why should it inspire the rest of us? That is the kind of question you want to answer with this blurb.

So, now that you all know the rules for this year, I want to show you a sneak peak at what’s in store for the winner:

Web

 

Suffice it to say, I’m aiming for this year’s prize is going to be more personal and more tangible for the winner than in the past. You’ll definitely like what I have in mind. DEFINITELY.

Get nominating, people! We’re counting on you!

Negativity and How to Handle It Appropriately

Last week, I digressed for a moment to pay tribute to a personal source of inspiration for me. However, there was a snippet in there about negative emotions and the importance of letting them out.

LET ME BE CLEAR ABOUT THIS! There are right ways to do so, and wrong ways to do so!

This would be a wrong way to Duso.

So, this week, I wanted to suggest some ways to let these emotions out safely and appropriately.

1. Before starting any of these suggestions, you may find it helpful to talk to somebody you know and trust about what’s been bothering you. He or she (or they, if you speak to more than one person about it) may be able to help you and offer you guidance. Worst comes to worst, they can provide a shoulder to cry on. Just try not to discuss in public. Personal matters may be better discussed in a more personal setting. It’s up to you, though.

2. Take a deep breath and count to x. X can be any number you want. X could be 10, 100, 3, 50, whatever. It’s all up to whatever is most comfortable for you.

3. Go for a walk. You could walk for 20 minutes, a half hour, a full hour. Again, it’s up to what you’re comfortable with. Just let your loved ones know what’s on your mind before you do it, so they know you’re safe.

4. Exercise in general can be a good physical outlet. You’d be surprised by how much pent up aggression you can relieve safely just by getting some daily exercise in. These can be sit-ups, push-ups, lifting weights, going to the gym, whatever you want it to be. Just don’t overdo it, and don’t take it out on the equipment, either.

5. This may seem counterintuitive at first glance when someone else is causing an incident and making you upset, but hear me out. When this scenario happens, the other person wants to get a rise out of you. They want the power to control your emotions. Don’t give it to them. You can always walk away. You have the power to remove yourself from a tense situation before you become upset. If the other person sees he or she is not getting his or her desired reaction from you, this person is more likely to leave you alone in the future. This one may take more practice than the others, but it’s worth it in the end.

I hope this has been enough of a help to get you guys started. May you find peace with yourself, within yourself.

Another Inspiration Lost…

I don’t know how many of my readers know of RoosterTeeth.com or have ever heard of Monty Oum and his webseries, RWBY, but let me take a moment to discuss why I’m taking what I’m about to tell you so personally…

I used to be very excited about new TV shows, movies, and games that would come out when I was younger. I could spend hours sitting in the same position in front of the living room TV, just watching my favorite shows.

As I grew older, things just stopped exciting me so much. By the time I finished college and Harmonix finished releasing downloadable content (DLC, for short) for Rock Band, I felt like nothing could pique my interest that way ever again. Or rather, something would have to try very hard to do so. Enter RWBY.

I didn’t think I’d ever be that excited for anything so easily for a long time, but here was this brand new webseries from some animator I’d never paid much attention to before, and I was beyond excited for it!

RWBY got me interested in something again, at the very least. I would later learn that the series creator, Monty Oum, was an animating legend across the internet (mostly known for RoosterTeeth’s other series, Red VS Blue).

Now for the sad news: Monty Oum passed away two days ago at the age of 33. He left behind many loved ones (friends, family, co-workers) and many others who loved him (i.e., his fans). I wanted you all to know how much this has affected me, personally.

I don’t know if I would still have the interest and inspiration to keep writing and creating anything if I didn’t have RWBY around to pique my interest. It came into my life at just the right time, and it didn’t disappoint. To me, this news is incomprehensible. To die of those causes so suddenly is jarring.

So here’s the message I want to send you at this point:

Life is too short to wallow in negativity. Take care of yourselves. If you feel overwhelmed by negative emotions, here’s my advice to you: Let it out. It’s okay to cry if you have to, but get all that negativity out of your system.

Even if you do have to cry to get it out of your system, just remember one important fact: After the terrible storm comes the serene rainbow.

Get all that negativity out of your system, but remember to do it APPROPRIATELY. Please, I don’t want to hear any horror stories of readers who misunderstood what I’m trying to say, here. Please don’t lash out at other people, or hit and scream at them if they try to help. It may be better to let them know what’s going on in your world so that they can help you let the negativity go in a safe, appropriate manner. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed and to cry, but it’s not okay to get violent and boisterous about it.

So, now I’m going to leave you with a couple tributes to Monty Oum that I’ve found online:

RWBY Tribute to Monty Oum

by http://nijuuni.deviantart.com/art/RWBY-Tribute-to-Monty-Oum-511395670

For the full version of the song:

R.I.P. Monty! You are deeply missed!

The Aspie Epilogue will return in full next time.

I Want to Hear from YOU!

April’s right around the corner, and that means another round for the Puzzle Pride Campaign! I want to hear YOUR nominations for the 2015 Puzzle Pride Award!

To make things interesting, I’m going to work on a special surprise for the winner(s) this year. I’ll announce what that is when it gets closer, maybe sometime around March, perhaps. We’ll see.

For now, I want to hear who you guys think should win this year’s Puzzle Pride Award. I’m counting on you to make this work. Don’t let us down! It’s gonna be awesome.

Puzzle Pride!