Tag: Scriptwriting

My Grandpa is Into the Spider-Verse

Broke away from my homework long enough today to venture into the wild, rainy yonder so I could spend some time with the family.

Not the usual suspects though.

No, today I went out to the movies with my sister, cousins Josh and Erica, as well as our collective Grandpa Joe!

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Ain’t we the cutest?

After all the unexpected chaos of Grandma Rhea last weekend, we decided it would be a good idea to spend a bit more time with the big lug. Get him out of the home, have some fun.

So we took him out to the movies, and lunch soon after!

As the cheeky, self-reference headline suggests, we all watched Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. For Josh and I, it was a repeat viewing. For the rest it was a first.

I’m sure a lot of you will remember that I fricken adored that movie the first time I caught it.

Pleased to report that I liked it just as much, if not more, on the second go.

However, I imagine the more pertinent question on your mind is how my Grandpa felt.

Well… The reaction I got after the movie ended was, “It was alright. But I wouldn’t see it again.”

I can’t blame him. There’s a whole lot of action and visual overload throughout the film for an 87-year-old.

Granted I’m not sure it matters, all things being equal. The important part is he had a great time being out with us, especially at Johnathan J. Rockets afterward where we could chat and eat.

Might not know who his favorite spider-person was, but I’m still glad to have shared one of my favorite recent movies with him.

Grandpa wasn’t the only one seeing Spider-Verse for the first time, however. Alyson and Erica both seemed to love it, and I’m definitely looking forward to doing this gag on repeat.

For my money, the movie stayed fresh thanks to easter eggs and foreshadowing moments early on.

I live for that shit, and movies that do them well tend to become some of my favorites. Like Fight Club.

Except I’m not going to talk about Fight Club. It’s in the rules.

Instead I’ll use a part of this post to talk about some of my favorite moments of foreshadowing here, since they add a great dimension to the film.

If you haven’t seen Spider-Verse yet, don’t read past this point. I don’t care that it’s probably past spoiler barrier, it’s still an experience I’d recommend fresh.

That means you, Mom and Dad. Don’t be reading this next part yet.

Continue reading “My Grandpa is Into the Spider-Verse”

50 shades of analysis

50 shades of analysis

So I just flew in from Fullerton, and boy are my arms tired!

Does that joke work over text?

I guess the more important question is whether that joke works considering I drove to-and-from Fullerton instead of flying, but nobody knows that.

And if I have my way, they never will.

Anyway, today was the first day of the spring 2019 semester for me. If it’s not already obvious, the whole affair has me a bit exhausted and delirious.

That being said I can’t complain about the contents of my day as much as the fact that it was required in the first place. I enjoyed my first two classes and found out that my class tomorrow was canceled, meaning I get an extra day off.

But I want to save a week-in-review post for the end — Thursday or Friday.

Thus today I’m going to go in a completely different direction and talk about something I discovered which helped keep me sane during the return to form.

While listening to the recent Split episode of Nando V. Movies‘ podcast, “Mostly Nitpicking” (which sounds like a paid plug but comes solely out of a fan’s love), I was recommended a different YouTube channel’s video series.

That series was the “A Lukewarm Defense of 50 Shades” trilogy by an analytical writing-focused channel called Folding Ideas.

Now I know what you’re thinking. “50 Shades of Grey? That series of mommy porn books from the early 2010s? That stuff was trash, why should I care?”

Trust me. I was the same way.

I’ve actually seen this video series floating around in my recommended feed considering I spend a lot of time watching similar analysis channels [Examples one and two] to both help my own writing and laugh at bad writing.

I just never cared because 50 Shades wasn’t a series I got into.

But I happen to trust Nando’s opinions because I enjoy his content, and because I am succepible to media influencers apparently.

Now I’m here to pass on that recommendation to all of you because this Lukewarm Defense trilogy is wonderful.

For the most part, especially in videos two and three, the guy is more than eager to lampoon the terrible, awful writing of the books and how they translate into terrible, awful writing in the movies.

Except it goes so much deeper than that.

The video on the first book goes in-depth on the history of translations from the fan fiction to book to movie, and offers a wealth of positives about the first book’s movie adaptation to contend with all the obvious negatives.

It succeeded in making me appreciate the filmmaker’s zeal adapting what must have been a garbage fire into something more palatable and well-crafted.

A lot of his points about things like the removal of the main heroine’s inner-dialogue making her a more self-driven and competent player in the plot are really successfully delivered thanks to an editing style that presents evidence from both mediums simultaneously.

Of course most of the positives are confined to the first book’s adaptation, considering he also goes into why the other books are worse and had worse movie making conditions.

But I never thought I would appreciate 50 Shades of Grey — the movie — near as much as I did while watching this.

That’s not even to mention how funny the guy’s content is in its own right, and how successfully he tangles brief jokes or asides into relevant points multiple videos down the line.

It’s just excellent content. Enough so that I’ll go back and watch more.

To be fair, I am somewhat more open to narrative analysis content at the moment considering I’m swinging back into more focused work on my own novel.

However Folding Ideas presents some serious, evergreen writing advice. If nothing else I’m going to think way harder about paying off plot points in my own writing because I watched this guy destroy 50 Shades for dropping the ball so often due to the original nature of its production as a serialized fanfiction.

If you have about three hours to kill, check out this mini-series. I promise it’s worth your time whether you’re into script doctoring or just laughing at terrible content.

It certainly kept me sane on day one of the semester, and for that I owe Folding Ideas a lot.


Featured Image courtesy of Teesta31 via Wikimedia Commons

More YouTube Recommendations

More YouTube Recommendations

I know I basically did this exact same thing less than a week ago, so it probably seems like this is a cop-out.

But honestly just consider it a symptom of me spending the whole day cleaning the house. Don’t have too much to talk about outside of inhaling chemical fumes all afternoon, so I figure it’d be much more engaging if I talked about more content creators I’ve discovered on YouTube over the past few days that have helped make the cleaning more bearable.

That said, welcome to… That thing I just said!

Yeah. Get hyped.

While the previous ‘check out these content creators’ post I did focused primarily on people who talked about comic book lore and writing conventions in cinema, the two people I want to talk about today primarily discuss writing conventions and cinema.

But in more specific details this time around. I swear.


Lindsay Ellis

Though I initially saw her content adjacent to the Nostalgia Critic some years ago, I only just recently discovered Lindsay Ellis for her purely solo career here doing video essays.

Video essays which are wonderful and educational in all the best ways.

More than basically anyone I’ve seen before, she takes deep dives into the minutia of film studies, as well as the history and cultural influences behind media that she, primarily, seems to hate in one way or another.

Though not in a CinemaSins-style “let’s just tally up all the shitty things” kind of hate, more of an academic “here’s what works and what doesn’t” kind of hate. Which just so happens to mostly target pieces of popular culture that leave her drinking herself into more of a stupor the longer she talks about them in an unexplained but great little running gag.

Out of everything of hers I’ve seen thus far, my favorite pieces would have to be her discussion on how the live action Beauty and the Beast is terrible about remaking a classic (with additional shout outs to her other Disney-themed videos on why Hercules isn’t a huge blockbuster and why Moana was Pocahontas but better), a lengthy piece on why the Netflix Will Smith movie “Bright” was terrible, and two documentary-length multi-part series on why the Hobbit failed and how Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise can be read from a multitude of different film study disciplines.

There’s just a bunch of good stuff all around, and the sometimes dejected tone of dealing with film studio bs and expectedly horrible comment sections on videos are nice additions to really thought-provoking ideas.


Pop Culture Detective

Where Lindsay Ellis seems to approach much of her content with a clear underlying sense of love for the film industry as a whole, Pop Culture Detective takes a vastly more critical look at everything in cinema (as well as television and occasionally video games) that are problematic in relation to one subject:

Masculinity.

As a fair warning, these videos hold no punches when it comes to eviscerating popular culture for instilling often toxic values often without intending to. If you love franchises like Star Wars or actors like Tom Cruise and Bruce Willis, it may sting some to watch these sorts of analyses.

Yet, that’s clearly the point. An effective one, at that.

It’s clear throughout multiple videos that the Pop Culture Detective loved many of the movies he discusses to death as a kid. But when he began to look at them in a new light, he was able to pick apart problematic patterns that we can all learn from even if we love the original content.

More often than not I find his content most effective when it delves into those patterns which have grown throughout the history of cinema. For example, his videos on abduction and stalking as abundantly-used tropes were eye-opening in that I frankly didn’t realize just how often they are used.

His more individually-focused pieces, like a video on the backwards logic of the Jedi Order in Star Wars, are also great.

Yet he also spends time talking about more positive representation of diverse forms of masculinity, like in a video about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

In fact, no matter what’s being covered, this creator clearly spends an ample amount of time looking into the subjects for their faults and what kind of effect it has on our culture, but at the same time he isn’t just blatantly negging everything and everyone in the industry.

More often than not he at least makes the aside that there likely isn’t an intent to be a bad influence, even if it sometimes comes across that way from how he otherwise presents the material.

It’s a well-balanced, educated look at film and T.V. through a lens that I don’t often see given as heavy a focus, so definitely check Pop Culture Detective out.


So those are the two content creators I wanted to introduce you all to today. Both with very different approaches at the same goal: Educating the public on more positive ways of producing film and other media.

What do you think of these two? Are you interested in the technical and theoretical sides of filmmaking?

If so, let me know in the comments! Also, if there are any creators whom you believe are worth their weight in views, let me know about them too. I’ll certainly be on the lookout for more things to watch as I continue my pursuit of a clean house during these fleeting final summer days.

Script Doctoring at its finest

Script Doctoring at its finest

If I haven’t made it totally obvious around here, I like movies.

I like movies a lot. A good chunk of that love comes from my dad, who was a pretty serious actor for a while and continues to work in the movie industry, currently for Fandango as I’ve discussed in the past. Thanks to him I’ve seen all kinds of flicks from throughout cinema history.

As time has progressed, seeing movies with him (and the rest of my family by extension) has essentially become a fun exercise in script doctoring. While a ‘script doctor’ may be an actual industry term for someone who consults on a script before it is put into production, I mean it more in a post-viewing thought experiment sense. Being able to walk away from a movie and discuss what could have been done to improve upon it.

Granted there are elements of hindsight involved knowing everything that happens as a finished product rather than seeing it in its fledgling development. A development that may be plagued with other problems that lead to less than stellar end products.

But we discuss things with those points aside. We have no real qualms given that none of us have any intent to create our own movie anytime soon. It’s just fun talking about how we might have improved certain things.

Superhero movies have been an excellent source of that internal debate for the last few years. Especially thanks to the Marvel and DC cinematic universes attempting to create larger, cohesive universes. That kind of large-scale project opens up tons of opportunities to pull from previously established canon in both the comics and movies to determine what might be better ways of moving in the direction those studios are going toward.

DC movies are the obvious ‘easy target.’ You’ve probably heard all of the comments: They ruin a bunch of popular characters. They’re doing everything to catch up to Marvel in too much of a compressed timeline. The dark, gritty approach to superhero storytelling isn’t utilized well.

For the most part I can’t say I’d argue. There are plenty of recent DC movies that I thought I would love just based off trailers which wound up being disappointing. Suicide Squad and Batman V. Superman come to mind immediately.

However, there’s plenty of good things going on in the DC cinematic universe. Things that we all want to work out better in an overall context because of how iconic the characters are.

The Batman and Justice League animated series’ from the 90s/00s were huge parts of my childhood. I knew Batman and Superman and all of those characters growing up because of how iconic those shows were, given the fact that I was never much of a comic book reader.

Outside of the big characters like Spiderman or Hulk, I wouldn’t know anything about Marvel until they began their own cinematic universe. Though, to be fair, as amazing as that universe is there still are flaws. It just happens that the flaws are less noticeable due to how much is going well around them.

I would also say that the MCU has been a big thing to me because of how amazing an example it is of creating an extensive universe. Of crafting stories that all tie in together and create one giant experience.

For someone who wound up becoming a writer, it’s amazing to see.

But all of that aside, I feel like I’m getting too tangent-y with what should otherwise be a simple post. Basically, I love discussing the flaws and successes of each superhero movie with my family because of their merits as good cinema and because of the engaging universes they create.

That post-movie critique is frankly as important to me as the movies themselves.

This summer, I’ve taken those interests in post-critiques to a whole new level. My realm of consistent YouTube views has expanded into more analytical channels, rather than simply let’s plays and other video game stuff.

Some notable examples, because I’m honestly using this post as an excuse to promote these people include:

  • NerdSync — A channel focused on looking at not just obscure bits of comic book stories and trivia, but looking at them through the lens of the real world history that led to in-universe decisions. Great 10-minute watches which have taught me so much more about comics themselves that also often promote other comic book-related creators on YouTube.
  • Captain Midnight — More or less the same idea as NerdSync, examining decisions in comic books (primarily their movies) through the lens of real world decisions and general tropes surrounding them. Includes interludes on every video showing commercials and media properties from earlier decades related to modern-day cinematic counterparts that are very recognizably stylized and pretty cool.
  • Mother’s Basement — Kind of does for anime what channels like NerdSync do for comic books. Examining the problematic or successful underlying writing tropes and such which go into beloved shows. Loves to bash on Sword Art Online, which I find hilarious having never watched the show but knowing just how hated it is by anime fans.
  • Just Write — If you want to be a writer like I do, this channel is a good place to spend some time. They look at popular media (be it books, television, movies or some combination of the three) to pick apart specific traditional writing clichés or innovations. Some really notable pieces on shows like Westworld or the modern-day Star Wars trilogy that I love and have been able to use as some writing inspiration for my own novel.

These guys join a pantheon of other more analytic-focused channels that I now enjoy the catalogs of, amongst mainstays like Game Theory, Cinema Sins and Wisecrack.

None of these creators are the reason I decided to write this post in the first place, however. I found a brand new addition to this list today that really pushed me over the edge.

Nando v Movies is a channel that looks at all different movie genres (though primarily superhero flicks) through an analytical realm similar to the others I listed. Picking apart tropes and clichés to see what works and what doesn’t.

But Nando does something a little different to stand apart from the crowd.

He is, essentially, a very well-researched script doctor.

What my dad and I might do just based off knowledge of the cinematic universes we’re observing after watching a new DC movie, he does using a full breadth of comic book history to draw upon.

He quite literally acts out brand new scripts for scenes that either minutely or majorly change a film in a way that drastically changes things. I don’t think I’ve seen any videos of his that misses the mark in making both good and bad films better in some way, shape or form.

He doesn’t just look at the major cinematic universes too, though his work on lackluster DC flicks are pretty amazing. He also looks at the Marvel Netflix shows and other major blockbusters. Star Wars, Ready Player One, Jurassic World. All of which are given minor adjustments with so much heart that they feel like they could be easily canonical.

Even if he too acknowledges in part one of his Justice League rewrite that he has the benefit of hindsight and no movie-making pressure. That’s sort of where I stole my own earlier disclaimer from, as a disclaimer.

Side note, investigations and fan theories for the current Star Wars films have become some of my favorite things. Because I enjoyed the Last Jedi, but I’d almost say I enjoy fan-generated ideas for the Last Jedi better than what we got in theaters.

Now with all this said, I don’t always agree with the content of the creators I’ve mentioned here today. But I feel like that’s just as big a part of the magic behind watching them as the amazing theories and insight they’ve been able to cobble together for mediums I haven’t paid too much attention to.

The Internet, for as divisive as it can be, is an excellent place to pose ideas and invite civil debate. I love having the opportunity to compare my own ideas and headcanons to their own.

So that’s essentially my pitch for the day as I finish this post seeing I’ve somehow almost hit 1,500 words. Go out and find some analytical content for your favorite things.

It’s not only an excellent way to kill time, but an excellent way to kill it with engaging, thoughtful material.

The Aftermath of Creation

The Aftermath of Creation

Having just wrapped up the second season finale of Westworld, HBO’s killer hit about robots populating a Wild West theme park that slowly come to some semblance of consciousness, I can’t help but sit here and just…

Stare blankly at the wall. Because holy shit.

I’ll be honest. After the absolutely wonderful first season and everything the show did to subvert any and all ideas about what was happening through unreliable narrators and timeline fuckery, I figured the second season would be way more straight-forward and focused on the repercussions of the first.

Also on samurai. Because all of the promotional material leading into the second season featured glimpses of Shogun World, a feudal Japanese-themed park adjacent to West World.

Those portions of the season set in Shogun World were just as amazing as advertised, by the way.

But that’s beside the point. What I’m getting at is the fact that the second season of the show wound up once again subverting my expectations by creating an absolutely beautiful loop of events through multiple timelines and a twisted web of character actions and motivations.

The writing in the show is absolutely beautifully well-done and leaves no thread unresolved. Except for those that are clearly setting up events for season three, but that’s a more spoiler-ridden discussion that I’m not planning on going into since we’re so fresh off the episode’s release.

If you are interested in marinating in the world of spoilers and mind-blowing writing loops, I do have some solace for you. That’s a world that is adjacent to what I’m looking to chat about today.

See right after the Marvel-esque post-credit scene, my dad decided to try to look up some answers as to what the hell just happened. He came across this very timely article by The Wrap where some questions were answered in strikingly specific detail by one of the show’s co-creators.

I would imagine they might want the crazy speculation trade to run rampant for a few days to drudge up more interest, but I can’t argue about having tangible answers.

Reading through the small interview got me thinking about the fascinating dynamic that’s created between an artist or creator of any kind and those who take in the created work.

After essentially melting into a pile of my own brain goo after watching the constantly evolving and ramping finale to the show, it was almost jarring to watch one of the co-creators treat the exact same content with such a casual, omnipotent attitude.

But then it occurred to me. Of COURSE she’d be almost unreasonably casual about it. She’s known what was going to happen since before the physical show itself had a single frame recorded. All creators know what their works look like well before it’s observed by the public at large.

As someone who creates stories himself, both non-fiction stories and fictional ones (in my head at the very least), I suppose I’ve experienced the exact same thing. Seeing people come to see an article I’ve written is something that has made me feel really proud, even excited.

Despite the fact that it’s at a much smaller scale than a HBO hit series.

That scale is hard to imagine, but must be incredibly satisfying to experience. Thousands of people, hundreds of thousands even, all in the same place I currently am as a fan, all flooding the internet with messages of bewilderment and craving the opportunity to learn as much as possible about the content we just absorbed.

It must be insanely gratifying to not only watch those people come in, but to be able to provide them answers that have been in-the-works for not just all the weeks leading up to the show’s finale, but the months of production before that.

For a show like Westworld, that level of gratification is certainly warranted. I wish nothing but the best upon those who brought such a beautiful creation into the world for everyone to experience.

Especially one based on a cheese-y 70’s flick. Because the way that original idea became this new phenomenon is an incredible transformation in its own right.

The whole idea of bringing something into the world for others to experience that’s full of hopefully surprising developments has gotten me thinking more about my own personal works as well. Over the next few weeks I’m likely going to be working more on the proposal for the novel I’m going to write as my senior honors project, and I might just be posting things around here about that to gauge interest, acquire feedback or simply store my ideas for the future.

So stay tuned for that, if you’re interested in seeing what I’ll be cooking up!

Gaming Records Week: Game Script

Gaming Records Week: Game Script

To finish off my week of Gaming Records, I figured I would talk about something that played into both of my major interests in life: Video games and writing.  As someone who aspires to possibly write video game scripts for a living, this one really blows me away just thinking about the collective effort necessary to receive such an accolade.

The Guinness Book of World Records lists Until Dawn as having the Longest script for a graphic adventure game.  The game, a PS4 smash hit from Supermassive Games, has a final script that was reported by Sony to be 1,000 pages long.  Screenwriters Graham Reznick and Larry Fessenden claim that the original script was as long as 10,000 pages long.  That’s just ridiculous.

Until_Dawn_cover_art
Cover Art provided by Wikipedia

While not too huge a fan of horror games in general, I have spent a good amount of time watching various YouTubers play Until Dawn (honestly just look the game up on YouTube, everyone and their Grandma has played it), and I’ve even gotten the chance to play a little bit of it for myself at one of my good friend Tiana’s birthday parties.  The depth that comes into the story when given such a wide variety of options to explore in a relatively confined but fleshed out space is honestly incredible.

Though I wish to write my own scripts one day, I will say that the idea of trying to beat a record like this is certainly a daunting task in itself.


That’s it for my Gaming Records Week, I hope you all enjoyed it and maybe even learned something!

If there are any gaming records that you know off-hand or find fascinating, feel free to talk about them in the comments.  It’s an awesome subject to tackle, and I’d love to hear other peoples input on cool gaming records!