Monday, June 3, 2013

"Men Are Only As Loyal As Their Options." -- Bill Maher


(__|__)

What type of camera equipment need one have to pull off an eclipse shot like that, eh? Fascinating. Sorry about the 9GAG tag ruining the shot there... I was too lazy to photoshop it out...

So, if there's ever a sure bet in life, it's that when I'm trying to create newsletters, I'll suddenly find I have an overwhelming urge to update my blog! Yeah, I know, I told you I was ceasing and desisting newsletter creation... I am... I'm just helping the transition to a new content creator happen easily, over the next couple months or so. If you want to try your hand at newsletter creation, let me know! Perhaps you could take over the project, eh! I'd show you how to do it, and then you decide... of course, you'd have to express interest fairly quickly...

Hmm... what's new....

Well, I went to the theater and saw Iron Man 3 recently (finally!) and enjoyed the heck out of it. I thought it was a fantastic, highly-enjoyable movie. Lots of great moments, great characters, fun dialog... everything I hoped it would be. More, actually. In fact, I think other than Batman Begins, it is my favorite superhero/comic book movie. I gave it a 9.5. I docked it half a point for a couple soon-to-be-anachronistic elements (the Downton Abbey references? Seriously, what was that?)

If you haven't seen Iron Man 3 yet, what the heck are you waiting for? In fact, if you don't go see it soon, this might happen to you...



I'm limping to the finish line in Under Heaven, by Guy Gavriel Kay. I'm going to be so stoked to finish it. I haven't taken more than a month to finish a novel in as long as I can remember. You know, ultimately, it's a good story... but too slow paced and pretentious for me. And the Ancient Chinese setting was interesting at first... but the names killed me. I usually have a tough time remembering character names to begin with... but this book? Wei Song, Shen Tai, Sima Zian, Wen Zhou, Zhong Ma, An Li.... made my head spin with the effort... if all of Kay's books are in this same style, I'm not sure I'll be reading anymore. A solid author, don't get me wrong... he's just not my cup of tea (lol). I doubt he'd be concerned... he gets tons of love from the Fantasy community, so I don't feel bad...


Speaking of focusing on my art (I know, I'm a llama), I've been struggling with my screenwriting training. My mentor is trying to rewire my brain, and it's difficult. I understand where he's coming from, it's just I'm ingrained to do things differently. Let me explain...

His philosophy is that you start with your theme - the moral of the story, the point you're trying to make. Then you come up with a story and characters to portray the theme. That way, as you write, keeping the theme firmly in mind, the script holds together much more tightly, and will require far fewer, if any, rewrites, because superfluous scenes won't need to be cut out (since they aren't written in the first place!). So, theme first.

My method, due (I suppose) to my lifelong rampant imagination, is to come up with storylines and fun characters and scenes and create a story out of that. Theme? Who knows? Is it fun and funny? Let's do it!!! I aim to entertain, rather than enlighten, I suppose...

So I have many "movie ideas", but no set themes. So I'm trying to find the theme in my pre-existing stories, with little luck. And I'm trying to come up with themes ("What is it you want to say to people, Dave?")... and I have two decent ones... but no stories and characters yet. So it is proving very difficult. I fear I may be frustrating my mentor...

One theme has to do with how we react when we feel insignificant and/or invisible. I've talked about this topic on this blog before, in some ways... usually, I feel invisible/insignificant when I reach out to people and get ignored in return. Write an email, send a text, write a Facebook message, leave a voice mail, etc... no response. Frankly, it angers me. A lot. So, yeah, a main character who feels insignificant and invisible, reaches a snapping point and then... what? Rages and destroys? Implodes/disappears? Thinks he/she really has turned invisible, and starts doing things, thinking he/she can't be seen? There's potential there for a story, in one of several different genres or genre-hybrids... but I got nothing yet...

The other theme stems from a quote by Bill Maher, which I have used as the title to this blog post. "Men are only as loyal as their options." I tell ya, there's a lot there, too, I think... (not the biggest Bill Maher fan, but that's a good quote)... Do you think that's true? Are you only loyal to your friends/spouse/job/church/hobby/etc because something/one better hasn't come along yet? I could sure write a story about that... maybe disproving it...

So, yeah, having trouble becoming a "theme-minded" screenwriter... haven't even started writing yet! And it's been going on two months, I think! It's frustrating. But I'll keep plugging along. Oddly enough, it reminds me of the struggles I'm having with my acting classes, in reference to "film acting" being so different from the stage acting I'm so used to. Trying to rewire my brain in two disciplines at once! No wonder I can't think straight!

Speaking of "not thinking straight"...


...This guy went through almost an entire bottle of shampoo before finally taking a good look at the label... lol

So Summer is upon us. I went to the pool with the Wagner Women this past weekend. It was nice. Played around with Youngest in the water, laid out in the sun a bit with Wifey. Not really the outdoorsy type, but I made it work. Splish splash, eh?

OK, well, that's enough nonsense for now. Had more boring things to share, but I think you've endured enough! I mean, I know most of you are imaginary, but that doesn't mean you don't have patience to reach the end of!

Adios for now,

Dave the Addled

5 comments:

Michelle said...

So, I have to say that I firmly believe that God gave us each our own way of doing things. Maybe it's just not your style to "find a theme" and write. Just a thought. I think it's great that you are following your heart and learning new skills. :)

David Wagner said...

Michelle: Thanks for the encouragement. I'm torn... on the one hand, I don't want to lock myself into doing things "my way", in case God's trying to show me a better way. On the other hand, it sure seems easier doing what I know how to do! Granted, "my way" has resulted in tons of started projects and very few finished ones... I think my brain could use a little re-wiring! I'm going to try it and see what happens...

Pj Donaldson said...

http://badassdigest.com/2012/01/12/screenwriting-101-1-of-2/


Anonymous said...

While you know I am a big fan, but also a friend who keeps it real, and then we can still play Scrabble online....

A theme is like a goal (in the business world we call it the mission statement). Imagine that you have a compass in your hand, and while you are creating story lines and characters you look up - you're off course! In business, you waste of lot of time and money getting back on course - in writing, apparently you endure hours of rewriting to get back on course.

Change is hard. As you're having a rush building a character or storyline - stop, look at the theme, and if there's no way you can work your writing toward the goal, save it, set it aside for another time. Your friend is teaching you to take control of your creativity, it will just take practice. I'm sure there must be artsy writing exercises ;) you can do. We call it brainstorming (and a myriad of other synonyms), where, without judgment, you just start writing all your ideas down, and that usually releases some exciting stuff.

Just a thought.......BA

David Wagner said...

BA: It's a strong lesson, for certain... hope it sinks into me enough to be of use.