Posts Tagged ‘writing’

I’ve been a reporter for more than a dozen years now. I am OK with the fact that people don’t believe everything they read. But I don’t understand how people think politicians are more believable than the media that covers them.

Politicians lie. That’s all there is to it. Every single one of them. I don’t care how wonderful your candidate is, they are a liar. They have lots of reasons to get you to believe what they’re telling you. It all has to do with money and power. And occasionally mistresses. That’s really all they want.

What Lies

This short satirical video explains it all.

And yet journalists are condemned as biased whenever they point out these shortcomings. In my admittedly short tenure, I have met some reporters who were biased against certain politicians. Some had a David complex, looking for a Goliath to slay. But most of the reporters I know don’t care who is in office as long as they give a good quote. They don’t have a horse in the race. If they are on anybody’s side at all, it’s the taxpayer.

Journalists make mistakes. I have made my share. But one mistake will make people condemn a news source, while politicians can make all the mistakes in the world and be untouchable. Maybe it’s because politicians have more charisma than most journalists. Maybe people just believe what they want to believe. No matter what, I’ll never understand why journalists are trusted less than the politicians they report on.

Advertisements

It’s been said that there’s nothing new under the sun. Everything’s already been done.

Maybe.

But that’s why you’ve got to combine stuff, make it new, and make it your own.

Take Deadpool, for example:

Deadpool_thumbs_up

Deadpool = Spider-Man + Wolverine + Deathstroke + Ash from Army of Darkness

 

 

image description

A hilarious Choose-Your-Own-Adventure!

At one point during The Avengers, I suddenly realize that here I am, in a big screen theater, full of people, watching a live action Thor and Iron Man fight. And it’s good.

Decades of comic book movies have brought us to this point: Where we can have high budget movies with A-list actors and directors bring our comics to the screen for the mass audience.

Sure, there have been some bumps along this road. But Marvel’s The Avengers paved over a lot of them.

Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark and Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts had more charisma in five minutes of screen time than in the previous two movies put together. (But why was she dressed like that?)

Chris Evans stopped being a boy in man’s clothes who didn’t emote (like how he was throughout the whole Captain America movie) and started being the take-charge man of principle that we all know he is.

The Hulk looked less like a cartoon, and more like a big, green Mark Ruffalo (This is a good thing). Ruffalo did a good job playing the conflicted Bruce Banner, and you could see in every scene that he’s trying to hold it together. I think Edward Norton could have done it well, too, but these things happen.

Black Widow was given something to do. Instead of just slinking around and kicking people, she was the brains of the operation in a way that Stark and Banner couldn’t be.

I should add here that I liked all of the previous movies, but The Avengers became the rug that really tied the room together.

Joss Whedon’s fingerprints were all over this thing. The bickering. The long stretches of dialogue. The humor.

There were times when a few characters are talking, then it switches to another scene where a few characters are talking, and then another. Compare that to the X-Men movies, where there’s a few minutes of dialogue and then someone is attacked. It was a welcome change, with all the testosterone flowing around, for people to have intelligent, character-revealing dialogue.

I’m very happy for Whedon. He helmed a very large, very expensive, and very high profile project and he did it well. However, I do NOT want him to direct any sequels. Whedon has a tendency to get too familiar with his characters, rendering villains harmless and heroes little more than people who just hang out together.

The plot was paper-thin, when compared to what Loki attempted in the Thor movie. But, this movie was all about bringing the heroes together, and there might not have been room for an overly elaborate villain plot. That’s debatable. The heroes spent almost as much time fighting each other. That may have been the plot, actually.

Loki was a bit too brutish with some of his combat. I don’t see him as the type to bring down helicopters with an energy weapon while riding on the back of a truck. He is the master of illusion. However, maybe his fight was just a ruse. As you see later, when he gets caught.

There was a hint of romantic subplot that may happen at some point, but there was no burden of forced romance when there are a bunch of big storylines running around.

Image

So, I’m very psyched for a sequel, although I have no idea how they’re going to top the villain they introduced (I saw it coming, for the record!) for the eventual part 3.

 

For a parody to be successful, it has to be both good and first.

The official trailer for Men In Black III (shown here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyaFEBI_L24) went online two weeks ago. My animator sent me a link and asked what we could spoof about it. I had a script done in two days. Within two weeks of the trailer being online, my video is online (shown here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zC-x0KkLjS0)

If you search “Men In Black 3 parody” in YouTube, my video is the first to come up. And it’s the only one that’s really relevant.

What I’m hoping by all this is that by being first to the party, I’ll get a head start on views. The script is good, and I especially love the ending. And the video is first, or at least among the first if I missed the others.

So, take a look at it, and let me know if it’s successful. Thanks!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zC-x0KkLjS0

 

Doctors and nurses hustle through the surgery tent. The charismatic doctors deliver deadpan one-liners while digging through the young men torn up by battle. A young man walks into this whirlwind of activity.

“Radar, put a mask on,” one of the doctors yells.

“I have a message,” the young man says, faltingly. “Col. Henry Potter’s plane…was shot down over the Sea of Japan, it spun and…there were no survivors…”

The doctors all fall quiet. Just the clank of scalpels dropping on metal trays.

 

From the Associated Press: Harry Morgan, who died Dec. 7 at age 96 after having pneumonia, was in the top ranks of actors who could take a small role, or a small scene, and bring it deftly alive. He added richness to any comedy or drama smart enough to call on him.

 

I always loved M*A*S*H and wanted to give Morgan a send-off that Henry Blake had.

Even as a kid, I liked how that show could go from goofy to serious and then back again. The seriousness made the goofiness that much more important and the goofiness made the serious parts all the more real.

What I Learned: If you want to balance comedy and drama, it starts with the characters. They have to be funny because they are reacting to the sad parts. The two feelings go hand in hand.

I always check the publisher of the books my daughter brings home from the library. “When a Dragon Moves In” was published by FlashLight Press. (http://www.flashlightpress.com/index.html) I had never heard of them before. I assumed it was an imprint of a larger, impenetrable publishing company.

I was pleasantly surprised that it was its own company. A little bit of research showed they were owned by a company that published adult books, but it was still small. It was still approachable.

Which means it’s approached by EVERYONE.

Their submission guidelines had changed in that they only respond if they really like it. They said it was because they got way too many submissions, and they couldn’t respond to them all.

That’s the way it is with us writers: Once the door opens a crack, we all rush toward it so the door cracks off its hinges.

There are so few publishing companies out there that actually accept unsolicited submissions that those who do get swamped very quickly. I only hope that my submission stands out from the herd.

What I Learned: There’s huge competition even at the little publishers. The same rules apply: Make it your best effort, and make your book stand out. (This is better than the big ones, in which you can’t even enter the competition.)

Don’t abuse the little publisher that could. They’re nice enough to offer you chances to have your work published. The least you can do is buy their books and keep that door open.

I wrote a short story for a client, and it turned out really good. Then, after all was said and done, my client mentioned he stole the idea from the Internet.

If all you need to do is right-click on something, why be original? Creativity isn’t rewarded, it’s just copied. People who want to copy something because they like it, but don’t realize there’s a value there.

There’s an assumption that if it’s online, it should be free. If this was the case, no one would be making any money off their creations and you’d see much less of it online.

Anything can be ripped off. That’s why it’s even more important to be 100 percent original. Don’t fall into the easy trap of generating content mashed up from other people’s ideas. You won’t stand out. You’ll be exactly like everyone else who is doing it.

We don’t revere people like Steve Jobs because he copied other people. He got the respect he did because he created something new.

When anything can be copied off the internet the only thing I have is originality. People want original content, not the same old thing. That’s why, for instance, Charlie Sheen jokes got old very quickly.

My writing might not be much, but at least it’s my own.

 

 

Here’s my YouTube channel. You’ll find some very funny and some very wrong short films here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/verylittleknowledge

Megan McCafferty, an of young adult novels, was speaking today to students at Central Regional High School, where she graduated. She said that she came up with what she thought was a great idea for a picture book.

Her agent declined it because there wasn’t enough potential for a stuffed animal to come out of it.

“Wow,” said an English teacher behind me, sadly.

Christopher Nolan was told by the film studio to make his Batman movies more “Toyetic.” Now, I suppose, books need to be.

This should come as no great shock, really. Everything is merchandised.

But two things make this worse. The first is that here’s this New York Times bestselling novelist, and she doesn’t have the muscle to get a non-toy book published. Secondly, marketing toys to children when you’re trying to get them to read is a downward slope. Reading should open doors to more reading, not to buying commercial products.

My wife and I were in Toys R Us and were surprised to see Fancy Nancy and Pinkalicious dolls. Reading is a very private thing, most of the time. And despite the popularity of these series, we just never thought of the idea that hundreds of thousands of kids read them. Hundreds of thousands of potential customers.

I saw a Splat the Cat at Barnes and Noble. I almost got it, but I didn’t because:

  1. I’m cheap
  2. My daughter has enough stuffed animals already
  3. I don’t think she’d play with him the way she’d play with her other toys. Maybe I’m wrong about this.

 

This is depressing. But I guess you have to think of it in terms of children’s TV shows. There isn’t any children’s program on TV right now that isn’t trying to sell you something. Except maybe the public broadcasting shows. But if Sesame Street is any indication, with Elmo’s face on everything, the other shows will have marketing potential too. A quick Google turned up Word Girl (My favorite PBS show) costumes.

So, I guess we just have to live with it. Books aren’t just for education or entertainment anymore. The main thing they teach us is how to be a consumer.

I had the good fortune to interview Vlas and Charley Parlapanides, screenwriters for “The Immortals,” last week in advance of their movie.

They said something that struck me, and I want to share it here. They said that in Hollywood, scriptwriting still has a meritocracy.

“If you have a good script, “ it can get made, Charley Parlapanides said.

“If you do have a big idea, they don’t care who you are,” Vlas Parlapanides said.

This is wonderful news to budding screenwriters. It means that if you have a good idea, you can make it work, providing you can get it into the right hands.

More or less.

They also said that you have to work your ass off and that you usually write 5 movies before your sixth one is sold. And then, there’s no guarantee it will be made into a movie.

Also, they said you are only as good as your last one. So, if it doesn’t make money, no one cares.

What I Learned: It’s not as much who you know. Not when it comes to this. Sure, maybe more people will look at your movie if you are famous, or have some kind of connection. But you don’t have to be anyone to start.

But you have to make yourself someone to keep going.

 

 

 

For my (sometimes inappropriate) humor videos, visit:

http://www.youtube.com/user/verylittleknowledge?feature=mhee


Just another horrible thought I’ve had: