Laura’s Movies

Even though nobody asked, I’m making a whole separate little section of my Brant completely dedicated to the movies I’ve been making lately. That way, you can find them all in one place instead of whoring around to my “channel” on Youtube.com — and then over to my Xtranormal page. Here you’ll find the entire growing series — “The Conversation” — featuring animated (and sometimes slightly embellished) exchanges I have on a daily basis with the people in my life (son, friends, frenemies, family). You’ll also find “So You’re Jewish But You Have a Christmas Tree?” — my first project. Please check back regularly and feel free to tell me about

your OWN annoying conversations! Let’s make this INTERACTIVE!

Also, not to get too “Inside the Actor’s Studio” — but you’ll notice that I started out trying to make them about a minute long: I had intended to do one a day and I didn’t want to make people waste too much time watching them. They’ve gotten longer than that, but I’m going to try to keep them as short. Just like any conversation, I find a little goes a long way! Better to shut up before boredom sets in!

And, as long as I’m interviewing myself, you should know that the motivation and inspiration behind “The Conversation” series is not just to show how confusing and annoying and, ultimately, how hilariously ridiculous everyday life is, but also to procrastinate. Instead of writing a novel, I’m making short little movies. Maybe one of these days I’ll realize I have enough material to start writing for real. Until then…

THE CONVERSATION 1: “Did You Finish Your Homework?”

Here’s the first one, based on a recent conversation with my son in the car on the way home (ok, in the movie version I’m not driving because there’s no option for that on the software). You’ll notice that the conversation is really circular and confusing. Most of my conversations with Ben have this confusing circularity which either has to do with 1) the way I phrase my questions 2) the way he interprets my questions 3) how kids tend to obfuscate, avoid the question, answer-without-answering, change the subject, and confuse you until you feel like your head’s going to explode 4) all of the above.

THE CONVERSATION 2: “Skateboard vs. Longboard”

Here’s the second. This is basically verbatim. I’ve asked my son a zillion times what the difference between the two boards is, and every time I ask I get the same non-answer answer. See if you can find the answer in this short exchange! (Spoiler alert: you won’t, because it’s not there!)

THE CONVERSATION 3: “I Need a New Helmet”

Here’s the third. It’s pretty self-explanatory. My son said he needed a new helmet (for skateboarding, or long boarding, I’m not sure which. Not that it matters). The confusing part was: he told me he needed a new helmet while wearing his fairly-new helmet. See if you can figure out if his fairly-new helmet is too big or too small.

THE CONVERSATION 4:  “Is That Dog Still Alive?”

Here, in the fourth one, you’ll see that I’m the one dodging, obfuscating, avoiding, and basically, lying my way to a non-answer. I just couldn’t bear to tell him the truth about the dog that’s probably not alive anymore.

THE CONVERSATION 5:  “The Potluck”

I went to my son’s back-to-school potluck and was so distracted by the fact that nobody ate the food I brought, that I missed most of what the teachers were saying.

THE CONVERSATION 6: “Comments of a Self-Promoting Frenemy”

What’s up with people who leave negative and bizarre comments when you write pieces that appear online? Also, what’s up with people who have to point out that the pieces you wrote for national newspapers appeared only in the online “blog” sections of those national newspapers, not in the newspapers themselves. Obviously inspired by real-life events when I had two pieces recently that came out: one in the New York Times’ “Motherlode BLOG section” and the other in The Wall Street Journal’s  “Speakeasy BLOG section.” Apparently some people think there’s a big difference between the actual paper and their gigantic widely-read blog-sections….

THE CONVERSATION 7: “So What Else Have You Written (That I’ve Never Heard Of)?”

The Frenemy returns! As if he weren’t annoying enough the first time, he’s back to torture me into telling him what I’ve written even though I know he’s not going to have heard of anything I’ve written. Most authors have experienced this about 1000 times — as author Holly LeCraw tweeted to me, one of the most annoying versions of the question is: “Have I heard of you?” Uhm….probably not. Watch and cringe, people. Watch and cringe.

“So, You’re Jewish But You Have a Christmas Tree?”

One of my lifelong obsessions: the oddity of Jews (100% Jewish, not married to a non-Jew) who have Christmas Trees.


It was all over when I saw the new Xtranormal character with the devil horns…

THE CONVERSATION 9: “I Can’t Believe You Still Have AOL!” (The Frenemy Redux! Again!)

THE CONVERSATION 10:  “It’s Your Fault We Nominated Your Book By Accident”

Inspired by the intensely-awkward non-apology-apology Lauren Myracle/National Book Award situation.

THE CONVERSATION 11:  “I’m Not That Kind of Person But You Are”

11 thoughts on “Laura’s Movies

  1. Skyler says:

    An excellent ongoing series, Laura! As an Xtranormal employee who’s fascinated by what people use the service for each day, I’ve been fortunate enough to run across these recently. Keep up the great work!

    One thing I might mention is that the URL you provide for your Xtranormal movies above is actually only accessible to you, the creator of those movies if it’s formatted like that (with the “listtype=ALL” portion in it. To give people the link to your account, or “profile” on Xtranormal, where they could browse your public movies, you could just cut the link off after your profile number. So in this case,

    Otherwise, anyone following that link would be taken to his/her own Xtranormal movies after being prompted to log in.

    Definitely recognize that some improvements to the way our profiles and movies links are organized are needed, since the service and the types of movies being made or shared has grown and changed quite rapidly recently.

    Regardless, this section here on your blog where your works are embedded and/or linked back to YouTube means this isn’t much of an issue, so I apologize for the rant 🙂

    Thanks, and glad you’re enjoying things.


    • Laura Zigman says:

      Hi Skylar — What a THRILL to get an email from someone at Xtranormal! As you can see, I’ve gotten obsessed with the software. I wish I could spend all day using it but, you know, I have other things to do….(that I don’t do, which is why I make the short films). Thank you SO much for the tip about the link. I’ll fix that soon. Thanks again for writing! Best regards, Laura

  2. […] Need a role model? If so, look no fur­ther than best­selling author Laura Zig­man, whose Xtra­nor­mal video series has quickly been gain­ing a cult fol­low­ing and offers text­book exam­ples of Plan B Nation […]

  3. Thunder says:

    Just stumbled across your site from Facebook. I’m really enjoying your videos… keep up the great work (or stop it and go write your next book. Either way. 🙂

  4. Just approving your Boston Parent Blogger membership and got totally distracted by your videos. Can’t stop laughing. Thanks… I needed a good laugh.

  5. MK says:

    Came here from huff post — love these conversations — esp the frenemy ones! i’m a mom and former book publicist and absolutely loved animal husbandry. keep on procrastinating with these xtranormal videos — these are totally hilarious.

  6. Emily says:

    Currently trying to figure out how I’ll bill the last 3 hours I’ve just spent at work, laughing in tears over your videos. Hilarious!

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