How to Shoot the Parkour in Data Runner

May 19, 2013 in Data Runner, Filmmaking, Parkour, Television and Movies

When most authors start thinking about movie versions of their books, they go straight to casting. I’m a little different. I happen to love the craft of filmmaking, and for that reason I’ve thought often about how to shoot the parkour in Data Runner, and this has led to an interesting dilemma of form vs. function.

The conventional wisdom would be to shoot all the parkour action with a handheld (i.e. shaky cam). The idea here is to put the audience in the shoes of a runner, giving them the visceral experience of running on the heels of Jack, Dexter, and Red Tail. You see this kind of camerawork a lot in television and feature films.

Here’s my issue with that. I’m of the opinion that handhelds are used way too often and unsparingly. Occasionally, a constantly shaking camera can be immersive (Bourne Ultimatum), but most of the time it gets annoyingly distracting (Hunger Games). Nevertheless, handhelds do give you a tightness and intimacy that is often lost when you have to mount the camera to a large gimbal. Steadicams do deliver a smoothness and fluidity that handhelds can’t, but generally have to sacrifice maneuverability in order to get it. So it becomes a question of form vs. function.

Enter the MoVI M10 by Freefly Systems. When I saw this video, and the quality of footage the filmmakers were able to capture with this 3-axis gimbal, I knew that this was the perfect rig to capture the action of the book. This mount allows fast-paced shots to be composed in-camera, preserving the intimacy of a handheld while simultaneously delivering a fluid motion that can showcase all the beauty and elegance of parkour. Watching this video, it isn’t hard to mentally replace the content of each camera movement with material from the book. It isn’t just a perfect melding of form and function, it is the perfect rig to shoot the parkour action of Data Runner.

Check it out, and please comment to let the rest of us know what you think…

Data Runner Reviews Coming In…

May 17, 2013 in Books, Data Runner

Hi Everyone,

So it looks like some blogger reviews for Data Runner have started pouring in on Goodreads. One reviewer even said it reminded her of early William Gibson, which (in addition to being a huge compliment) is exactly what I was going for. Here’s a snippet of her review…

Yay for this book! It’s been a while since I read such fun sci-fi. What I love about the best sci-fi is not aliens or futuristic technology but how it illuminates important social, political and cultural issues in our world. And Data Runner does not disappoint.

It touches on timely issues like fraking, water rights and combines it with great world building, fun data running, engaging conflict and great characters. Data Runner reminded me of the storytelling I enjoyed so much in early William Gibson novels but made relevant for today.

I can’t wait to read book two!

You can check out this and other reviews here at Goodreads.

Thanks to everyone who is taking the time to review the book.



Data Runner cover revealed at Page Turners Blog!!!

May 2, 2013 in Books, Data Runner


In the not-too-distant future, in what was once the old City of New York, megacorporations have taken over everything. Now even the internet is owned, and the only way to transmit sensitive information is by a network of highly skilled couriers called “data runners” who run it over the sneakernet. It is a dangerous gig in a dirty world, but Jack Nill doesn’t have much choice in the matter. A brilliant young math whiz and champion of parkour, Jack must become one of these data runners in order to get his father out of a major gambling debt. But when a mysterious stranger loads Jack’s chip with a cryptic cargo that everybody wants, he soon becomes the key figure in a conspiracy that could affect the entire North American Alliance. Now it’s all up to Jack. With the help of his best friend, Dexter, and a girl who runs under the name Red Tail, Jack will have to use all his skills to outrun the retrievers and uncover the truth before they catch him and clip him for good.

Greetings and Salutations!

If you’re finding this post, it means you’ve probably clicked on over here from Page Turners Blog, who were kind enough to do our big cover reveal today. I just want to thank everyone over at Page Turners for all their hard work in helping us put this together, and for helping to get the word out about DATA RUNNER. You guys rock!!!

In addition to Page Turners, I want to give a quick shout out to everyone at Diversion Books who have been doing an outstanding job with the book (they rock too!!!).

But the people I’m most excited about are you guys, the readers. I’m super excited for you to get the book into your hands so you can take a run on the sneakernet alongside Jack, and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts about it. As the clock to your right counts down to zero, I hope you’ll continue to check in with me for updates about DATA RUNNER (and maybe even some additional content to expand the DATA RUNNER universe). I’ll also be posting some really cool stuff about parkour, sci-fi, media technology, and all the other things I love to think (and write) about. In the meantime, here’s some links that may be of interest…

Click here for DATA RUNNER by Sam A. Patel at Goodreads

Thanks for coming by,


New Parkour Gym for Wannabe Secret Agents… and Data Runners???

May 1, 2013 in Data Runner, Parkour

This is awesome! There’s a brand new parkour gym in Bushwick called the Brooklyn Beast that teaches the art of movement to people who secretly yearn to be secret agents and the like. Hopefully there’s be more gyms like this popping up all over the country. I can just envision a whole bunch of kids reading DATA RUNNER and then (literally) running right over to sign up for lessons.

Click here for NY Post article

Neil Gaiman Delivers Killer Keynote at London Book Fair.

April 20, 2013 in Books, Writing

Neil Gaiman, who is always on the cutting edge of new media, urges publishers to take a more “dandelion” approach to e-publishing.

Here’s an excerpt. Watch the whole thing below…

“Mammals spend an awful lot of energy on infants, on children, they spend nine months of our lives gestating, and then they get two decades of attention from us, because we’re putting all of our attention into this one thing we want to grow. Dandelions on the other hand will have thousands of seeds and they let them go where they like, they don’t really care. They will let go of 1,000 seeds, and 100 of them will sprout”

Seeing Obstacles As Opportunities – Parkour Way Of Life: Ali Kadhim at TEDx Parramatta

April 18, 2013 in Parkour

Zombie Kiss

April 8, 2013 in Media

Zombie kiss

Francois Lenoir/Reuters

(Francois Lenoir/Reuters)

Top Ten Storytelling Cliches Writers Need To Stop Using

April 8, 2013 in Writing

Great list by Rob W. Hart at Lit Reactor

Cliché is the enemy of good writing.

We, as writers, are trained to kill clichéd phrases in sentences. But that’s not the only place they can hide—they can infect the spaces between the words, too.

Clichés can infect storytelling techniques.

Need to build some tension? Have a time bomb with a digital readout slowly ticking down to zero!

Is your narrator a dick? Blame it on abusive parents!

Want to get all writerly in conveying the plot? Put it in a dream!

These are storytelling devices that pop up again and again, crutches for the writer to lean on and help move the story along without actually having to stretch their abilities. What follows are, to my mind, the worst of the bunch.

Click here for full article at Lit Reactor

The Data Runner Coming Soon (05.14.13)

April 5, 2013 in Data Runner

I wish I had one of those clocks to count down the days, minutes, hours, secs. In lieu of that, I’ll just tell you that The Data Runner is on its way. Drop date: 05.14.13.

Will Post cover the minute I have it.