Five Things I Want To See on TV, In a Book, or In a Movie Theater

In his book The Anatomy of Story, John Truby talks about the path to becoming a master storyteller. His first step is about developing the premise of your story. Truby states that nine of ten writers fail at this stage. I’d like to not be a part of those nine so I’m going to try out this exercise he suggests to do.

“Write down your wish list, a list of everything you would like to see up on the screen, in a book, or at the theater.” I’ll just do five. Otherwise this blog entry would go on and on and on.

An animated movie that removes the stigma from animation in the West

Animation can go to so many places that life action can’t. If you look at an animation like Miyazaki’s Spirited Away or Looney Tunes, these are worlds that wouldn’t work with live action at all or not nearly as well. Animation can exaggerate the rules of real life and get away with it. It’s another art form.

However it is limited because of the stigma that it appeals to children or can only be used for comedy. Pixar films are the closest to meeting this desire. but they are still seen as children’s films. I would love to see an animated movie that is not a comedy nor a family film. It’s possible that I haven’t looked hard enough and this movie does exist. If not, I would love to see this on the big screen.

A pedophile protagonist

This is a weird one but ever since I watched Hard Candy, a film with pedophile protagonist who is tortured and humilated, I’ve been wanting to see that sort of protagonist taken a different way. Can you get the audience to get behind a pedophile? They have to be the hardest people to have empathy for. You would have to be a great writer to make the audience feel sorry for a pedophile. It’s also very taboo in nearly every culture. It seems like an impossible task. I’d like to see this done in a book, or in a movie theater.

Decay/Evolution of Superhero’s morals

Batman doesn’t kill. Spider-man doesn’t. What would it take to push these guys over the edge? I know there have been plenty of Batman stories about this sort of thing, but I don’t think he ever actually snaps (Killing Joke is ambiguous). Whenever a hero finds themselves in a situation that would require them compromise their morals to solve their problem, they always find another way out. I’d like to read a story where they have no choice but to kill someone and they have to deal with it.  Whenever someone asks, “Why doesn’t Batman just kill the Joker?”, a person always brings up the slippery slope argument that Batman will then start killing all his villains. I’d like to see a story about this slippery slope.

The thing that really prompted this was the end of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Aang spends the episode contemplating killing the Fire Lord. He is opposed to it because of his morals, but he has to do it to bring balance back to the world. Then he finds a lion turtle that gives him the special power to not have to deal with that dilemma.

Mike Haggar as a protagonist

Mike Haggar is a former professional wrestler who becomes the mayor of his city. He then decides to beat up crime with his own fists. His fighting style is over the top. I’d love to watch a show about him just breaking people.

The Other Side of the Prophecy

Countless stories have been told involving prophecies and chosen ones. It sure would suck to be on the other side of a prophecy. Imagine being a ruthless tyrant and you find out that some 14 year old kid is going to kill you. Or what if you weren’t a ruthless tyrant and you found that out? What if you’re just a regular king who’s good at his job and don’t deserve one of these things? What would you do? Try to kill the kid? Find another way? Can you talk your way out of a prophecy? That would be a fun story to read. Or better yet write.

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Where do our interests come from?

I don’t like many of the same things that my friends do. I don’t listen to the same music as most of them. I don’t play the same video games. I don’t watch the same television shows. There’s very little crossover between my interests and my friends’. It’s like  How did it get to be this way?

Facebook is what really brought this thought to my mind. Everyday I log in on the right side of the screen, there’s always ads. This dude and 16 other of your friends like Peyton Manning or some other shit I don’t give a fuck about. I think I have only seen something that I liked twice in those ads in all the time that they’ve had those ads on their site.

Your friends are supposed to be the people closest to you yet I don’t have much in common with them. So how did I come to like the stuff that I like? I can’t get it from my parents. I have even less in common with them. They despise the majority of my hobbies. Why do I like the stuff that I like?

Here’s an example. I like professional wrestling a lot. My cousins used to be, but they’ve moved away from it. I’ve grown to like it a lot. My parents hated it and they hated that I watched it.  My closest friends didn’t have any interest in this show when I started watching it. Yet I’m still a professional wrestling fan to this day. How does this work out?

Another example would be that I like to read comic books. When I started, I didn’t know anyone who read comic books. My parents didn’t introduce it. I just bought one from a store and it all sprouted from there. I don’t talk about comic books with any of my friends.

It’s peculiar. It’s not just that I only like things my friends don’t like, I also don’t like the vast majority of things that my friends do. I don’t go out of my way to just hate these things unless it is to spite somebody.  One of my good friends always recommends me animes and other shows. I give each of them a chance, but I just end up not liking any of them. Music is also strange. I thought my musical interests lined up perfectly with one of my friends. He would recommend a lot of stuff and then I’d like it. Then slowly I developed my own tastes and rejected stuff he gave me. How did that happen? It’s like my interests mutated and became something of their own.

I thought the internet was the answer to most the questions I’ve been asking. I get a lot of recommendations off of it but it doesn’t account for everything. Like my interest in women. Where does that come from? My friends will talk up a girl. “That girl is so pretty.” I’ll just think to myself. Really? Her? I’ll agree with them sometimes, but other times I don’t. The internet isn’t affecting that.

Where do people’s interests come from? Random brain alignment? Are they encoded into our DNA? I’ll research into this one day.

Writer’s Digest Writing Prompt

  • Coffee?

Good things happen to good people and great things happen to great people. I am a great person. How do I know this? Today, the girl that I’ve been nursing a curse on for quite some time came to my house and asked me out. There’s not much more that a man could ask for in life than that. I never thought things like that actually happened to people. It almost makes me want to start believing that the world isn’t such a bad place to live in. But I know better of course.

There’s only one downside. We’re in a Starbucks. I’ve despised coffee since a very young age. Everyone used to mispronounce my name and call me coffee. I’ve never tried the stuff and I never will. I can’t complain though. Just standing in this line next to her gives me that giggly bubbly feeling in my neck. She’s here because she wants to spend time with me and only me. I’m getting so excited. Now she’s turning to face me with those unforgettable eyes. Ooh. My heart is fluttering.

“What are you thinking of getting, Greg?”

Who’s Greg? Is that supposed to be a joke? How cute of her.

“I have no idea what I’m going to get, dude.”

“What’d you get last time? The Caffè Misto?”

There was not a last time. Does she have me mixed up with someone else? Maybe she’s just kidding around since this is our first time out together. I’ll play along.

“You should. It was really good, miss.”

“Yo. Greg, Can you find us a table? This place is filling up. ”

“It must be coffee time. That’s why this place is getting so full. Haha.”

That is an awkward smile on her face. She didn’t find that funny at all. Hopefully she forgets I said that by the time she gets back with her coffee. Now to find a table. There? No. Someone left their blue backpack on it.  That green table by the window over there is empty. It’s the also the only green table in here. There’s probably something wrong with it. I’ll just sit at this brown one next to it. Here she comes and she’s brought two cups of coffee. I don’t remember asking for coffee. I’ll just let it sit here.

“Somebody needs to answer their phone more often.

“What are you talking about?”

This girl has never called me. This can’t be a joke then. She has me mixed up with some other guy. Oh no. That means not only does she not like me, she has no idea who I am. She must like this other guy. Hold up. If she likes him and she thinks I’m him, it’s pretty much the same thing as her liking me because of the transitive property. Basic Algebra saves the day again. I’ll just see where this goes.

“Yesterday. I called you like 5 times.”

“Oh yeah. Sorry. My phone was on silent. Hehehe.”

“So how’s work been going on that project of yours?”

“It’s been uh-great. It’s going great.”

“So you don’t need my help, then?”

“Um. No. Uh. Yes. I don’t know.”

“You seem confused.”

“Could you remind me what kind of help you were going to give me?”

“Sure. By the way you should drink your coffee before it gets cold.”

“You shouldn’t have got me one. I don’t drink coffee.”

“What?”

“I don’t like coffee.”

“That’s what I thought you said. The Greg I know would never ever say anything like that not even as a joke. He worships Starbucks coffee.”

“Uh. Um.”

“Who are you?”

“I-I-i gotta go.”

I never knew I could move this fast. That’s what happens when you screw up a date with the girl of your dreams. This is one of the worst things that could ever happen to me. If I ever see her again, she’ll know me as the guy pretended to be Greg. I can never live this down. I’m not a great person. I’m not even a good person. Darn it. I should have just stayed home and played video games. That sounds like a good idea. Battlefront 2 here I come!

Summer Internship Search

In November of 2011, it dawned on me that I should get an internship. It would give me active out of class experience. I would learn what it is like to be on the job as a reporter or at least interact with news people. It was within my best interests to get an internship. I thought it would be easier than getting a job. They aren’t going to pay me. I’m working for free. Free work! Who doesn’t want that?

After nearly seven months, I’ve realized nobody wants me. I’ve gotten two replies back. One was a quiz which revealed I wasn’t ready for their position and another found someone with more experience than me. I’ve applied to at least 40 internships.

I blame my current lack of a summer internship on several things.

1. My weak resume/Lack of experience

I had my first job last year for one month. I’ve written for my school newspaper only a couple times. There’s not much to like on there. My professional career is very bare.  I’ve started to include writing samples with my more recent applications, but I don’t think it will do much to get someone to take a chance on me. It’s very easy to look at it and just throw it away. This is my major weakness. I’ll be looking to improve this. My lack of experience is also probably a factor which is weird. Many internships that I looked at listed “Previous Internship Experience Preferred.” Apparently you need experience to get more experience. This is very annoying. I wish I would have thought about getting an internship last summer, but it’s too late now.

2. Racism

If I can’t get an internship, it means they are obviously racist against blacks. All the equal opportunity nonsense is just a front for blatant racism. I’ll be contacting Al Sharpton in the morning about this and see what can be done.

3. Lack of nepotism

If I knew somebody in the publishing/writing/journalism/communications, I’d be able to get an internship easier. I’m sure of this. I’m keeping an eye out now for journalists in my area.

4. Namism (I think this is a real thing)

My name is much better than other people’s. It’s memorable, easy to pronounce, and has a nice tune to it. People are jealous and refuse to hire me because of this.

5. Digital Fingerprint

It’s possible that people are finding out who I am as a person by search for me online and using that to judge whether or not I should have a position in their company. This is not fair to me. How dare they hold me accountable for what I say online!

6. There are no internships

Internships are just an idea that man created and nothing more. Like any idea, they only exist in our head because we want them to exist. You can’t prove internships exist just like you can’t prove anything truly exists. I was a fool to ever believe in internships. I’ve wasted my time and my life. Of course, time and life are also just ideas….

7. I’m not trying hard enough

I am trying, but I can always try harder. I can try to write better cover letters and look harder for internships than the same 3 to 5 sites. I could e-mail back people and follow up. I could even go to some of these places and find out if they will ever get back to me.

I’ll soon have to turn this summer internship search into a fall internship search. I have to get one seeing as I need 200 internship hours to graduate. It would be a shame if after all the money and time I pumped into college, a silly thing like working for free would hold me back from getting that oh so important degree. I’ll keep fine-tuning my skills so that when I do get that chance, I can make the most out of it.

Seven Seasons of Supernatural.

Supernatural ended its seventh season tonight. The finale was okay. It started off boring but picked up in the last 15 minutes. An eighth season for the show has been confirmed. Unlike many other fans, I really hope it is the last season. The president of the CW network has stated that they do not see the eighth season being the last.

This is the annoying thing about television shows. They can continue long they’re supposed to if it’s good for business. They can be also be canceled prematurely if it’s good for business. This robs the audience of a satisfying ending after they’ve invested many hours into the characters. All of the build up just goes poof in the air and leaves a bitter sting.

I’m not afraid of cancellation. I have no reason to be. I’m not afraid of not getting an ending. I’m afraid of not getting an ending that is worthy of the show. I feel that if the show continues, it will have a very lackluster tacked on ending. Since season 5, each season has been self contained with some nods to previous episodes. There is no complete story arc in mind. They don’t have an ending in mind yet.

There have been 149 episodes of Supernatural. Each episode is approximately 40 minutes long. I’ve seen every episode of Supernatural. I’ve invested just about 100 hours of my life into the characters and their world. That’s 4 days and 4 hours. I’m not the only one. Supernatural has lots of fans. Can the ending live up to it and satisfy them?

I pity television writers. Their characters continue on long after they’ve completed all their character development. Sam and Dean make the same mistakes and learn the same lessons every couple of seasons. Things are repeated because they have run out of things to do with the characters. It’s no longer fresh. It all feels the same. I wish the show would have ended in its fifth season. The show was at its best and I’d rather it have gone out on top than dragged on.

I’m very pessimistic when it comes to television show endings, but it’s not all bad. The seventh season finale sets the stage for a very intriguing season eight. Maybe I’ll be surprised and they will end the show on a high note.

I doubt it. It’ll probably be canceled after season nine on a cliffhanger season finale. Supernatural’s creative team really loves those cliffhanger season finales.

My Brother and Me

I don’t talk about my brother very much.  It’s one topic that I never know quite what to say. Nobody ever knows what to say. He has a learning disability. He may be autistic. It’s very weird. He graduates from high school in a month. His experience at high school was very different from mine. All the standardized tests that I laughed through were a struggle for him. I never took any of them seriously. The HSPA, the S-Test, they didn’t matter. To my brother, they are everything. He spent countless weeks studying and preparing for the HSPA. My parents stressed over it for weeks. Getting a high school diploma for me was a breeze, but for my brother it was very hard work.

I never used to see the two of us as different when we were kids. I treated him like another kid. He was younger than me. It’s harder to notice problems when you’re only 9. He fit in better when we were kids. He used to be very hyper. He’d run around and never sit in one place, but that’s what kids were supposed to do. He’d chew on things, but then he was just a kid. He, my cousin, and myself would all rough each other. It was good times. We’d all play video games together.

As we got older, I started to notice that my brother wasn’t picking things up as quickly as I did. I remember my brother being a match for me in the video games we played. The older I got the better I got. My brother didn’t get that much better. Soon I was beating him easily. I just assumed he was just not good. My parents tried to explain to me that my brother learned things slowly. I don’t think I ever really got it until it hit me in the face many years later. As a teenager, it was easy for me to just leave my brother behind and go hang out with my friends. He was younger and that was the reason I could leave him behind.  He was a part of my world that I didn’t bring along all the time during my adolescent years. At this time, I had my life separated between my social life and home life. My brother was part of my home life. I leave that life and enter another once I walk out the door. I still feel that way when I leave the house.

My attention during these years went outside of the home. It’s to be expected. The rebellion years and all. I became fixated with my own problems in that life, not the other. My parents were an annoyance. My brother only got focus with me when I couldn’t go outside. Even then I’d just help him with his homework or we’d have our backs to each other on our computers. Whenever I would go over to look at his computer, he’d always quickly close it. I never thought anything of it.

It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I realized just how different the two of us were. It was the first time that my brother and I were in the same school. The township kept sending him to other places. I never got to experience my brother in the school environment and all the social aspects of it. I remember passing him by and noticing how he walked, how he talked. At home, I just couldn’t notice that sort of stuff. Even at family events, I just didn’t pay attention. This was his role in my home life. But now against the background of the same school, I could see that something was very different about my brother. It wasn’t something that was going to go away with time.

For the first time, I completely saw my brother’s disability and what affect it would have on his life.

You learn things spending time amongst your peers. I learned to read body language and tell whether someone was worth my time to talk to. I could see that my brother was very timid. He was very much unsure of himself. He had no confidence. He was one of the students who needed extra help. That was his place at my high school. I remember going to lunch one day. At my high school, we had two cafeterias. My brother had the same lunch as me. I sat with my friends. I ventured over to his room once to see him sitting at a table alone. No one else in sight.

I spoke with him for a little bit. I thought about bringing him back to my lunch table. I didn’t. I wasn’t embarrassed of my brother. I just wasn’t sure what to do. I hesitated and then forgot about that problem within a week. I think Team Fortress 2 had a major role in that.

Luckily for me, I didn’t have to think up a solution. The semester ended shortly afterward and I didn’t have lunch anymore. I just left early after that.

My brother and I would ride the bus to school together until I got my license. Then I’d drive him. I always had the feeling that he was more intelligent than I thought. He could speak about video-games almost as well as anybody, but when it came to articulating his thoughts on other subjects, he had a lot of difficulty. His timidness makes him comes across as more troubled than he actually is. I’ve seen him talk down to children younger than him, he’s a different person.

Every problem has a solution. My parents came to me for advice on what happens next with my brother. What is his life plan going to be? They asked me that. He was a freshmen in high school the first time the question was asked of me. I told myself I had time to think. So I waited.

I’m out of time now. He graduates from high school in one month. One month. Soon after that he’ll be 18. What is to become of my brother? I can’t even figure out what I’m trying to do with my own life. We have a short term plan. He’ll learn a trade. Hopefully it works out and he gets a job.

I have a lot more to say on this but I think that’s enough for now.

 

RAW 5/14

It’s very rare that I watch an episode of RAW and think that it was good. I keep watching because it’s always on and it’s a habit. I think most of all, that I continue to watch because the show has the potential to be very good, even if it always falls short. In those rare moments when everything falls into line, it’s the best thing on television. Tonight was not one of those rare moments. Tonight’s RAW was forgettable and aggravating.

And it was because of this man. There were other factors, but this man is at the top of the list. If not for his theme song, he would be devoid of any entertaining qualities. For months, the WWE has built this man up far better than any of its young rising stars. He’s gotten plenty of promo time and segments designed to make the audience hate him. If the WWE built up their young stars with half the effort that they put into building up John Laurinaitis, their show would be so much better.

This man is not good on the microphone. He’s not a great actor. He’s not a great wrestler. He’s not a great entertainer. Why is he pushed so hard? He had two long talking segments on tonight’s RAW.  The WWE champion had one short one. Why does the WWE give him so much time? How is he making them money? I don’t understand their love for this man.

The most frustrating thing about tonight’s RAW is that it was the last RAW before the PPV. CM Punk and Daniel Bryan have a WWE title match and yet they didn’t an in ring promo together. They had a good tag match together but that was it. This is the WWE title. This is the most prestigious title in the entire organization. Shouldn’t it matter more than just one tag match? This was their last chance to build up this match. Why doesn’t the company care enough to build this feud up properly? Why put more focus on a nonwrestler than two of your most talented wrestlers?

Bryan and Punk get good reactions and do the best with that they are given. Why not give them the ball and let them run with it? It can’t hurt. The company won’t shut down if two very talented individuals have a good feud for the biggest prize in professional wrestling.

The WWE has a large number of talented wrestlers. If these certain people are given a chance, they can make professional wrestling a fun thing to watch. The WWE is strange and chooses instead to be not entertaining when they easily can be entertaining. It’s like moments such as last summer are impossible for them to create.

Remember this? Why is it so hard for wrestling to be at least half as good as this?

Another complain, Johnny Ace fired the Big Show on RAW in a long segment. The Big Show acted fairly well but why did this go on so long and why have Ace do it? Isn’t Show in a feud with Cody? Couldn’t you try to get Cody involved somehow to try and make the audience care more about Cody? He’s the intercontinental champion. It would certainly help to get him some more boos.

For some reason, the belts don’t matter. The audience isn’t given a reason to care about them. They aren’t given a reason to care about anyone or anything other than John Cena. I understand that Cena is the biggest draw but the focus of this show should have went somewhere else. He will be in the main event on Sunday against a non-wrestler. Why give that so much attention? I understand that you need to sell the match but so much time and boring segments have gone to a feud that isn’t even close to being captivating.

Tonight’s RAW was bad, but it didn’t have to be. As stated earlier the problem isn’t with the talent, it’s with the creative team. The bright spots in the WWE continue to shine brightly, but they aren’t given a chance by the WWE’s creative team. Why? Is it that the creative team just doesn’t give a damn and they phone it in?

By next week, people won’t remember this show. They insured that nothing memorable happened on this RAW. Maybe that’s their game plan. Make RAW as shitty as possible so when good stuff happens, people only remember that.

It could be a good show if they tried.

RAW needs consistency in its quality. Ratings are going down. Pay Per View buyrates are going down. Can the WWE afford to have bad RAWs like tonight? They need to entice the audience to watch their product? Do people want to see Johnny Ace talk for 14 minutes? Do people want CM Punk and Daniel Bryan to barely matter? Do people want to see  a drunken John Cena come to the ring and give his best Jim Carey impressions?

The numbers don’t lie and they spell disaster for the WWE if they continue down this path.