Welcome to Torg Stories!

Torg Stories is a place for me to write about what tugs at my attention. I spend a lot of my time thinking about writing and the teaching of writing, content creation, and coaching basketball. Over the years, I’ve directed four films, had three books of fiction published, and won several screenplay awards. I’ve organized some of the topics I write about into the following categories:

  1. Youth Basketball Workouts and Player Development
  2. My family’s French Broad River Adventure
  3. The Craft of Writing and Teaching Writing

Like Holden Caulfield says in The Catcher in the Rye, “The trouble with me is, I like it when somebody digresses. It’s more interesting and all.” Rather than chastise myself about too many digressions or what could be seen as a scatterbrained approach to my work, I’ll say my writing here embraces an interdisciplinary way of thinking that allows for more of life to come in from the outside and get onto the screen. A big hope for this space is that it might allow us to learn from each other and share a good story or two. Like this one time, me and my family–having never rafted on our own in our entire lives–rafted 149 miles of the French Broad River…

On the French Broad River Torgerson French Broad River Paddle Trail Asheville Rosman MountainTrue RiverLink

Charlotte, Bill, Izzy and Megan Torgerson with Hot Springs, NC in the Background

A bit more about me: I’m a native Midwesterner who was born in Logansport, Indiana and a person who moved to Illinois to go to college, back to Indiana to teach and coach, to North Carolina for graduate school, to Georgia for more graduate school, to New York City to teach at St. John’s University, to Connecticut to escape the crowds, back to New York City to escape the commute, back to North Carolina for the mountains, back to Indiana to coach, and now we Torgs are getting ready for another move back to North Carolina. Next fall I will begin a lecturer position teaching composition at Appalachian State University in Boone. A few things I learned the past year:

  1. I found it impossible to meet my expectations for the kind of English teacher, basketball coach, husband, and dad I wanted to be balancing all of those responsibilities.
  2. I want to be free in the late afternoons to spend time with my wife and daughters, whether it’s playing hoops, working out, doing homework, creating content, or going on family adventures.
  3. We Torgs feel at home in the mountains of North Carolina.

Below, you’ll see a bit of what I’ve been up to over the years:

Books

Click here for Torg books for sale on Amazon

Indiana, basketball, love, divorce, winamac, Indiana, Pat Conroy, book club

Pat Conroy called The Coach’s Wife“One of the best books about basketball and coaching I have ever read with a love story so complicated and wonderful it will have book groups talking about it for years.”

Thanks to Pat. I learned a lot about writing from reading his work, and I’m thankful to be able to keep hearing from him via his books.

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MIdwestern Gothic, novel in stories, Winamac, Indiana, basketball, Flannery O'Connor, William Torgerson

Horseshoe is Midwestern Gothic collection of stories with themes about love, sin, guilt, and redemption.

romantic comedy, eighties, John Hughes, Say Anything, Olivet Nazarene University, basketball, college writing, winamac, Indiana, book club

In Love on the Big Screen, Zuke is a college freshman whose understanding of love has been shaped by late-80’s romantic comedies.

Films

morel mushrooms, hunting, Indiana, France Park, Bill William Torgerson, Martin Torgerson

The Mushroom Hunter is about my father and his buddies’ passion for hunting morel mushrooms.

Click here to watch “The Mushroom Hunter” free online.

More Torg Stories films: Christopher’s Garden and For the Love of Books

Short Film Ready for Festivals: The Brothers in Pursuit

The Brothers in Pursuit is a short film of 11 minutes based on my novel and feature screenplay, Love on the Big Screen.

the movie trailer

In the film, four college students have formed a group to support one another in their pursuit of God, knowledge, compassion, and the company of a good woman. The friends meet on Sunday nights dressed in matching boxer shorts, wear plastic helmets from a toy store, and report back to each other about their progress regarding the pursuits.

film, short film, Love on the Big Screen, Bill Torgerson, romantic comedy, film festival, LGBT, Rhode Island International Film Festival, Cherokee McGhee, Winamac, Indiana

the movie poster

The novel Love on the Big Screen was published by Cherokee McGhee Press. In it, the protagonist Zuke and his buddies form The Brothers in Pursuit. The sequel to Love on the Big Screen is entitled The Coach’s Wife and is forthcoming in 2015.

80s music and movies, Cusack, Ringwald, Hornby

The script won the Grand Prize of the Rhode Island International Film Festival. Part of the award was taking part in the annual festival in Providence, and it was there that my own interest in making films was sparked. Since then, I’ve directed two documentary films:  For the Love of Books and The Mushroom Hunter.

As with many projects such as this one, there were some great surprises. One of the best came from a former student of mine, the talented artist Nicole Marino, who did a painting for the boys to hang in the barn.

art, painting, Brothers in Pursuit, Nicole Marino, Bill Torgerson, film festival, short film

Do you see God, knowledge, compassion, and the company of a good woman?

 

music by Jeremy Vogt

script supervisor Amanda Torppey

 

Friday Reads Giveaway

Get entered for a chance to win one of these books. Read over the descriptions and by way of comment to the post, let me know which one you’d choose if you win.  Comments must be left by Sunday 8/26/2012 / 3:00 PM.  That time gives my daughters and I time to make a video to announce the winner.


Horseshoe

Southern Gothic steeped with Midwestern sensibility stirs the waters of the Tippecanoe River that embraces the town of Horseshoe and its inhabitants. A novel-in-stories, Horseshoe intertwines revenge, regret, murder, adultery, and insanity through the lives of the outwardly ordinary citizenry. Although the ideas for the stories have come from all sorts of places real and imaginary, the setting is grounded in my hometown of Winamac, Indiana.

Horseshoe fag faith God sanctuary healing service Winamac Indiana guilt

Love on the Big Screen

In Love on the Big Screen, you’ll meet Zuke. He’s a college freshman whose understanding of love has been shaped by late-eighties romantic comedies. The story is set at a fictionalized version of Olivet Nazarene University and while creating the story, I reflected on my own romantic life and special obsession for films such as Say Anything and Sixteen Candles. My adaptation of this novel won the Grand Prize of the Rhode Island International Film Festival Screenplay Competition.

80's music movies say anything john cusack sixteen candles William Bill Torgerson

Thanks for participating!

The Movie Poster is Out! by Natalie Brasington

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I’m excited to share with you the movie poster created by photographer Natalie Brasington for the premiere of our film, For the Love of Books.  It will screen as part of the inaugural Phenom Film Festival in Shreveport, Louisiana at the Bossier Civic Center on Saturday, September 8th at 6:00 PM.  I’ve heard rumors that Kathy Patrick is planning a party.  I’ll be there!

documentary film movie Kathy Patrick John Berendt Robert Leleux film festival William Torgerson St. John's University Love on the Big Screen Horseshoe

pictured from left to right:  author John Berendt, a close up of Robert Leleux, Kathy Patrick with a pretty hat on, Wade Rouse in a tie, and a chapter of the Pulpwood Queens Book Club

Can you help me out and let me know which Pulpwood Queen chapter is pictured?  If you’ll enter your email into the box below, I’ll write you a note and say hello.  Thanks for checking out the site!

Movie trailer can be viewed here.

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Podcast: How Did I Learn to Write (a film script)?

http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/2030253/height/325/width/325/autoplay/no/autonext/no/direction/forward/thumbnail/yes

Working from notes I’m going to use for a panel at the Rhode Island International Film Festival, during this podcast I talk about how I learned to write, how I try to teach writing, and how a person might be able to get something going when it comes to the business of writing, screenplays, and film.

In the podcast, I expand on the following notes.

First, how did I learn to write?

  • I learned to read like a writer in an MFA program focusing on fiction.  Texts can be your best teachers.
  • I read and write a lot.
  • I finish stuff and I send it out.
  • The lessons in the stack. For example, I’ve read a lot of literary journal submissions,  lit agency submissions, and stacks of student writing.  The stacks show me what’s being done and what I might do that’s interesting with those stacks of ideas.  The opening films of the festival are another kind of stack.

 How do I try to help students write?

  • by creating writing territories
  • through experiencing an audience of each other
  • by providing examples of many writers have a different process for how they finish their work

Some Favorite scripts:

  • Diablo Cody’s Juno: her transitions
  • Tarantino’s InGlorious Basterds:  there is the fact that he is writing for himself, but I could see that you can just do it like you want.  I can envision something on the screen and just write it so that it makes sense to the reader. Doesn’t matter if it’s unconventional. That, in fact, might be a strength.
What was the result of winning the festival prize?
  • a bit of credibility at the festival, lots of little bits can add up to something substantial
  • the lesson of the films I wouldn’t have seen (back to the lessons of the stack)
  • the impulse to make my own short film which then accidentally became a feature documentary that will screen at the Phenom Film Festival in Louisiana
  • Good talks with Elfar Adalsteins who did the short film Sailcloth
  • That I won the film festival and was trying to make a film meant that I met more “like” minded people who may eventually be a part of future projects that we do together.
  • Last week I met William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg from Moonbot. Their Lessmore won an Academy Award. Their company is in Shreveport.  I first became acquainted with their film because I was in Rhode Island connected to the prize.  So my script Love on the Big Screen isn’t a film, but a lot else has happened that’s been fun and intellectually stimulating.

Some Books that helped me write or think about filmmaking:

  • Lew Hunter’s Screenwriting 434 (practical how to that got me started)
  • How Not to Make a Short Film: Secrets of a Sundance Programmer by Roberta Munroe
  • The Hollywood Economist by Edward Epstein
  • The Shut Up and Shoot Documentary Guide: A Down & Dirty DV Production, by Anthony Artis
  • Stephen King’s On Writing
  • Donald Murray’s Write to Learn

Two Podcasts I like:

  • KCRW, The Business. Filmmakers are common guests and they explain how they get their work done.
  • “Here’s the Thing” with Alec Baldwin. Guests include Lorne Michaels, Michael Douglass, and Jon Luvitz
  • The Creative Penn: just got turned on to this one. Some interesting stories from writers and how they’ve marketed their books.
Torgerson film festival cusack hornby say anything john hughes sixteen candles