Video Library

    Interviews, Public Readings

    Commentary on The Characters Benjamin Beal and Emil Bozak

    Filmmaking is the background for the story of Dying Light, but the novel is about relationships.  When the book opens, documentary filmmaker Benjamin Beal is about to begin shooting the biggest movie of his career, The CrowdSource7.   As we follow Benjamin on the first few days of making the film, we begin to realize that many of the behaviors and skills required to be a great filmmaker also are required for good relationships with people. 

    Live Reading from Dying Light’s Chapter 3

    Dying Light is a novel told through stories.  The filmmakers in the book are Cinema Verité documentarians and their work is designed to express true stories through candid filmmaking techniques.  The novel’s characters are the same way.  We learn about them through personal reflection and conversation.  However, we only learn what they want to tell us or are willing to tell us.  In this way, the reader must sort out what is true, just like in real life relationships.

    Commentary on the Texas Characters in Dying Light

    Historically, Texans are interesting, bigger-than-life characters in literature.  Among the Texans in Dying Light, Fischer Lehmann takes center stage.  However, the minor Texas characters we meet in the novel gently guide Benjamin toward important realizations with well-timed observations.  From the car service driver, to the wise but taciturn housekeeper Esperanza, to the wry old church lady, Miss Inez, Texans have a lot to say in Dying Light.  That is, if you are listening.

    Commentary on The Theme of Giving in Dying Light

    The CrowdSource 7 is a documentary about performance art, and the public is the performer.  In Dying Light, Benjamin Beal is staging an enormous experiment in compassion and giving.  Seven severely ill people who require organ donation star in The CrowdSource7 and they meet the public face-to-face hoping to trigger the compassion and generosity necessary to inspire live organ donation.  It’s a lesson in giving on a massive scale.  This backdrop sets up the central theme of giving in the novel.  

    Commentary on the Father/Son Theme in Dying Light

    It’s not surprising that Benjamin Beal’s first movie has to do with the struggle of divorced fathers.  Commonly, an artist’s first major completed project reflects an issue close to the artist’s heart.  We say in storytelling that you can tell “the” story or you can tell “a” story.  For Benjamin, his first film, Fathers, was “the” story for him.  One of Benjamin’s major external conflicts in the novel revolves around reconciling his relationship with his mentor, Emil Bozak.  Emil is not Benjamin’s father, but he is his creative father.

    Commentary on Complicated Characters in Dying Light

    Although the initial plot line about The CrowdSource7 seems compelling and full of possibilities, Dying Light leads the reader off-road to become a character-driven story.  It takes a little time to get to know more than surface information about Benjamin Beal.  The story is told from his first person point of view, so we hear what he tells us.  After a while, we are able to separate who Benjamin is from what Benjamin does.  That’s where the real story of Dying Light kicks in.