Sunday, February 5, 2012

I Did My Homework!

Thanks to everyone who gave feedback on the post from two weeks ago. Lots of good discussion and suggestions and input!

So what did I do with it?

I thought you might like to see.

First I printed out all the comments, highlighted the important data and made a spreadsheet with a column for each actor. Then I looked each actor up on and decided whether they were a real possibility or not. Mostly this decision was based on the actor's age. I didn't eliminate anyone because they didn't match the picture in my mind. After all, if my picture doesn't match your picture, that's most likely due to my lack of description, not your lack of detection. (As a rule, I dislike reading overly descriptive portrayals of characters, so, as a rule, I avoid doing that in my books, which can lead to under-describing, which can lead to different mental pictures.)

The one character I must have under-described is Marissa. I see her as having long curly (or, at least, fluffy and full) dark hair. Her mother's name is Yolanda, and I see Marissa as being at least part Hispanic... although I've never mentioned this overtly in the book.

About actor age: Unfortunately, in this case it really matters. If it takes, say two years to get to the "and...action!" part of this process, someone who may seem a tad old to play a character now will be way too old in two years--especially for a series. If there's a strike-through one of the names, that's why.

I embedded a link for each character, then realized I should probably transfer everything into a Word doc, so I did that, then imported pictures and birth dates for each actor to coincide with the linked list of names.

Then I divided the cast into generations (because I've been told that this is one of the appeals of the project), removed Holly and Dot in an effort to limit the 'kids' to one page. (Don't worry--they're not gone. They're just not represented at this preliminary phase.)  Then I put a * next to the actors I liked best. The image posted is actually the reduction of what took up three sheets of paper.

This was actually a whole lot of work, but I wanted a concise, visual representation of your input, and I wanted it to give an easy snapshot of a potential cast. My agent said it was "inspired" to ask for your input, and the producer got back to me right away with a "This is great!"

So I want you to know that the time and thought you put into this is appreciated and your input has been passed along. (And for those of you who did late-week comments, I will check those out, too!)

Glad you're out there--have a good week!


Kylie said...

O wow that must have been a lot of work! And Marissa being Hispanic I can't say that I pictured that. Maybe a little but not really Hispanic, or maybe I have just not registered it. Now I can't wait for the show (even if it won't be on for a few years).

Stefunny said...

Interesting. I always saw her with medium length straight hair and blonde highlights.

Shaina said...

This was so fun to look at! I didn't give any suggestions because I don't really know many actors/actresses, especially young ones. But this WAS a big project. I hope it works out sometime! hmmm now I want to go read those books again... :)

Yusa said...

Some of the ones chosen now, look to young but we don't know how they'll look in a few years. And Marissa, Hispanic, i didn't see that! I also can't see any of those people as Casey. I guess we can't make everything perfect.

Yumna Zia said...

Ok, Wendelin, My Top Picks are: (and these are the ones I imagine as the most similar to how I picture the charcters:

Sammy:Hailee Steinbeld
Marissa: Ryan Newman
Heather: Abigail Breslin
Casey:Logan Lerman
Billy: Zach Mills
Lana: Elaine Hendrix
Borsch: Tom Skerritt
Hudson: Jim Beaver

Hudson as Tom Skerritt looks EXACATACALLY how I imagined him! If every reader imagines him like this, you MUST sign him to play!

Tibbitoo said...

Everyone's talking about how they all seem too young, but they're 13/14 people! Middle School! They're supposed to look young. And you also have to look into their acting history; will they be able to pull off the character? So, that's what I'm going to be doing over the next few days. But, based on looks, these were my favorites:

Sammy:I still like Bailee. People say they can’t see her as Sammy, but I can, with her hair pulled back? Totally. Plus, she look younger (Sammy was told by Taylor that she looked young) AND she bring the sass on. Plus, she has lots of acting experience. My second pick would be Ariel Winter.

Marissa: Am I the only other person besides Wendelin who pictured Marissa even somewhat Mexican? Like, the dark curly hair, and more tan skin? Hm. Anyways, for her I like Ryan.

Heather: Emily or Bella...with Emily, I'm not sure if she could pull off a 13/14 year old, but I've never seen her work, so I have no clue. But the actress MUST have red hair, or at LEAST a little Red in her hair.

Billy: Zachary Gordon

Lana: Elaine

Hudson: Tom.

I hope you have success looking for characters if you do make the show! Have a good week!

Yusa said...

for heather and her mom, is their hair natuarallyred or is it dies an artificial bright red? and always imagine casey with a mix of red and brown hair. Emily looks to nice to be heather to me. Grace doesn't look like grams to me cuz i can't see her knitting away and i feel like she should have white hair.

Anonymous said...

oh my god if logan lerman played casey acosta.........i think i would be able to die peacefully :D:D like, seriously- that is my favorite actor and favorite guy book character. AHHH
i can see either bailey or ariel, actually!!
hmmm i always pictured marissa with layered, pretty straight but full brown hair- and now that you say mexican, i could see it!!!
i honestly don't know about other characters, but i love that you're asking us for opinions, even though us book fans always get told the author usually has very little power over decisions like this :D

Beach said...

I must confess that I got a bit confused about appearances reading the books. Especially Snake Eyes, when they described the tagging suspects, I wasn't sure if the blonde was supposed to be Sammy or Marissa. (Before that I always assumed Sammy had blond hair like her mom, and Marissa had dark hair, but that book made me switch, though I don't remember what else in the description made me flip-flop them.)

I also got hopelessly confused with all the boys in Moustache Mary. Even re-reading it later, I still can't figure out who's saying what (i.e., which one is Casey) in the scene where they first meet.

But I really do like that you let us build our own mental image of the characters, giving us a few details but letting us fill in the rest.

Yumna Zia said...

I always imagined Marissa as slightly Hispanic with dark hair, somewhat curly, and a healthy look to her face. But Sammy, I didn't imagine her having very full cheeks or looking well-fed, more, a tough face, without much of a healthy look to it (after all, she lives with Grams and receives less food than Marissa, and she gets money rarely, and Grams only has as much money as the retirement home gives her). So I can't imagine her as Emily or Bailee Madison. The truth is, I ESPECIALLY cannot think of her as Bailee Madison.
And I always thought of Sammy looking sort of normal with a bit of toughness, maybe sometimes being mistaken for one or two years younger.

Yumna Zia said...

Also, I think Heather should look like Emily or Abigail Breslin. And Ryan Newman does look Hispanic, healthy, a bit tough, with dark curly hair, just like how I imagined Marissa-- I think she's PERFECT for the part!

I really really really really really really really really hope you choose Ryan for Marissa!!!!! Even if you don't choose the others that I wanted, I'll be delirious with delight if you choose Ryan for Marissa!

Kylie said...

Wait why didn't you put annasophia robb up for Sammy? Did you forget? She is still my favorite for Sammy so far, and I love Liam for Casey!

Yusa said...

annasophia robb is too old to play sammy i think but if she was younger i think she would've done well

Harriet said...

This was so much fun looking at all the ideas!
Here's what I think

Sammy: Bailee Madison or Hailee Steinbeck. Or me (Hey who says you can't wish! Wendelin it'd be a dream come true if I was Sammy!!! But of course that won't happen xD I know!)

Marissa: Ryan Newman. Yeah I definately see her with dark curlyish hair.

Heather: Jordan Todosey or Abigail Breslin

Casey: Jimmy Bennett or Liam James

Billy Pratt!!! : Zachary Gordon or Zach Mills Please!!

Lady Lana: hmmm. I think either is good!

Everybody else is hard to say. Thans for setting that up Wendelin! It was fun!

PS TJ at Maynards Market: I know you don't have htis up but Devon Bostick is perfect. I say it again xD

g said...

Chloe is perfect for sammy!!!!!
Like Excatly what i pictured!
I hope she gets a part in the show and can't wait!

Madelyn Glymour said...

I change my vote. Hudson should be Tom Skerritt--he's perfect.

Yusa said...

Ryan or Mary would be good for Sammy.
Hailee or Natalie for Marissa.
Jordan or Abigail for Heather.
Zachary for Billy.
Elaine for Lana
Luke for Warren (since he's the only choice).
Marcia if perfect for Candi!
Jim for Officer Borsch
Sam or Tom for Hudson
I don't like any of them for Casey or Grams. Sorry! :( (:

Yusa said...

nicholas J. robinson might be good for Casey.

Kylie said...

Okay so I was just watching the game plan and I realized that maddison pettis would be a good marissa maybe. I don't know tell me what you think.

bookworm said...

Marissa is kind of how I pictured Lena (in Snake Eyes) with the curly but not too curly, more like wavy) hair and tan (but not black either) skin. just a sort of healthy glow of a tan. I like Ryan Newman as Sammy and Bailee as Marissa. Elle Fanning and Abigail are TOO young looking for me to take them seriously as 7th graders. Remeber, people, they start off in 7thbgrade, and I did not look like a 5th grader like they do. (No offense to them.)
Remember that Sammy mistook Heather as an 8th grader, and nearly as a high schooler when they first met; Heather should look considerably older than 12/13 years old.
Casey, I like the older guys for him; he can look older than his age because he'd be in 8th grade, but not outrageously older than expected. And as for Logan Lerman, please see Percy Jackson. He has a pretty face, but I don't think much of him as an actor.

Would it be possible that the ages of everyone were boosted up a year or two, so that the kidslook a little more mature? I'd want the target audience to appeal to more than just 12 and 13 year olds. But then it'd disrupt the whole concept of being in "junior high jail" and therefore defeat the purpose of Sammy and Casey even meeting.

just brainstorming here.....

Not that many latin girls are actresses......

Selica Leone said...

Hmm, my thoughts. Not sure about Sammy. I think if the actress is good, I'll adjust to her.
Marissa, Ryan works very well. I too can see her somewhat darker, but not completely. Ryan fits the bill!
Heather, Bella, absolutely! She is perfect for the role, absotlutely!
Not sure for Casey (see Sammy above)
Billy, I like Zachary Gordan for him.
The others are all pretty good, and I'm not overly opinionated on them.
Good list!

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Makayla said...

Dear Wendelin Van Draanen,

Hello, my name is Makayla Klann, and I am writing an article for our school newspaper, The PawPeratzii. I got entertainment for my category and I thought that it would be cool to write about one of my favorite books and the author of, The Running Dream. This book was an amazing book. I loved the book and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read the book. If it is okay with you I would like to ask you a few questions about how you wanted to become a writer and everything.


Question 1~What or who was your inspiration to write such an amazing book?
Question 2~Where do you get your ideas from?
Question 3~What is your writing process like?
Question 4~What advice do you have for young upcoming writers?
Question 5~Does writing energize you or exhaust you?
Question 6~Do you try to be original or give the readers what they want?
Question 7~How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Question 8~What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Question 9~How long were you a part-time writer before you were a full-time writer?
Question 10~What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
Question 11~How many hours do you write a day?
Question 12~What's the best ways to market a book?

Thank you so much!

Makayla Klann