Tuesday, November 2, 2010

New Rant for today

Everything sucks.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Well,, we're almost back.

Howdy wrongers, writers and others. Just a little post to update the blog. Many things have been percolating since my "Revealing of the soul" posts. Mainly visual stuff, but that doesn't really gel well with the current blogging phenomenon.

The discourse is all but dead, replaced by the not-so-self-help blogs of flash. Unfortunately the discourse is the root of cinema as you can't copyright an expression or a gesture or a flickering of light.

I've still been creating new stories and working on existing ones but having just moved and still settling into a day job (spent most of my money) I'm not in find, send and sweat mode right now.

Wait the sound of that sucks. No wonder I'm a writer.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Moment of Silence for The Mystery Man

Yes, the unthinkable has happened. One of my mentors and I hope friends has passed away. I never knew his real name but I feel that I knew him. He was one of the first "non-gurus" I ever came across when I began the path to being a screenwriter.

We discussed everything from sex in cinema, doing away with character arcs to four act structure and visual storytelling.

This is a really sad day for me as I was missing him ever since he changed from Blogspot to Twitter.

Go here for some of the best analyses of film you can get for any price:

In his memory I'll be reposting some of his articles for the next few weeks.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hiatus ahoy!

I just realized it's been two months since I posted a new post. I'm in a funk right now and don't really give a shit.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Indie Gold

Howdy folks,

We've got something a little different today. Rather than boring everyone with dry theory we're gonna do a spoiler free review of a cute little film called One Too Many Mornings (onetoomanymornings.com).

It's the story of two old friends. One - Fischer - lives in a church for free and has a party every night. The other - Peter - runs away from a five year relationship and comes to stay at the church. They drink, party and laugh for days. Fischer tries to convince Peter that his girlfriend is no good and goes as far as to even curse her out on the phone.

Things come to a head as Fischer's drinking gets way out of control, causing him to nearly lose his cushy job and home at the church. He tells Peter to do something to him if he ever drinks again. Peter does...something rather funny and effective.

Finally, Peter's girlfriend comes to see him and after a few near misses they reunite and we find why he really left. After things have gone South with his Pastor and landlord, he finally gets a date, though most of his encounters are filled with drunken slurs and casual sex.

To avoid spoilers we just glossed over minor points so if you want a few good laughs check it out today. The film maker you help maybe your own.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mysterious ways...Not out like I thought

Howdy folks,

The time has for all good men... damn it Off topic already. I really need to get my banalities in order. Ehhh, fuck it. It's all served me well thus far. There is a lot to be said for a person who doesn't actually have a personality, only a function. Right now the function is cinematic excellence.

The funny thing is that I was inspired by a hero who failed me and it is the most liberating experience I've ever had. I've long tried to be accommodating through ultimate hardship and be the better man in BAD situations.
My path though has forced the return of the Poet that will NOT be denied and I'm glad that I chose to take a huge chance, relying only on faith in the power of study and hard work.

I had to make really difficult decisions recently and hope that I can handle them gracefully without obscuring my real motivation, that cinematic excellence thing.

I have found that - to wax biblical - a prophet is never respected in his own country. I'm nobody but hey this is a spontaneous post to help me relax for my next moves. My short has been getting some good people attached and I think it will be a great film for it's target demographic.

I've still not finished my Master's thesis script but I have had the opportunity to compile three years of work into a forward thinking hypothesis that should allow me to quickly and efficiently produce popular narratives.

I mean I could soup up some of my club exploits or some of experiences as a houseless person with a job in an office - well I did live in a movie theater though. It was a funny thought while worked at Microsoft after flipping a few birds for my Bachelor's program where my head exploded cause I was trying to prove my Big Bang Theory (I found Einstein did agree after I sewed my brain back up). Or hell I could dig into my basic training or AIT or even Airborne duty assignment.

The problem is that I plan on shutting out the entire world and sitting on the beach for a week or two. I love NY but I LOVE LA.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Coming soon - Genre Abstraction for Action Lines

Yeah, we're getting geekier and more dry by the day but I also punch peopel so I can.... Ooops I romised i wouldn't let my lack of "life" to creep its way into this blog.

OK I have done very freaky things in clubs all around the country not to mention various "Spring Break" type events - god I could write a movie about it. Get back on track... ehhh shut up. Listen this post is about serious stuff. ....yeah, yeah, yeah.

Excuse my prsonality - excuse me - banality issues.

At any rate a new frontier has emerged after months of "dialog-action-personality" study we have found that the diverse types of genre require an abstract pattern to accurately represent the desired "scene-emotions." Much of this can be gleaned from the study of the active\reactive patterns of the involved personality but that more so influences description of character action rather than scene - "mise en scene" - description.

The key therefore lies in the use of abrupt, curt descriptive language. Scenes of motion will then become quick cuts

The cars smash together...smashing side to side....pedestrians scream

Because these are not descriptions such as character movement

He drops down amongst them a whirling dervish of blinding speed.

the shortness of the lines denote the pace. This works even when the pace of generated action is horror film limping slow like

The creature growls menacingly.....its flashing eyes reflect in the low light...it approaches on all fours....deformed.....nearly human...Jennifer stops...breathless.....eyes wide....legs immobile

When these lines are analyzed they contain the minimal information, doled out in visual chunks, some rooted in imagination, some rooted in emotional state, others vividly descriptive.

Because the script is merely a visual guide for a film maker it's a tightrope to grab the reader but also give the film maker a map that is direct and FILMABLE AS IS. (Some readers need Godard like thugs need Jesus.)

Some people believe in the multiple draft theory, but that's not the science in the craft. The science in the craft requires due diligence of thought before the draft is accomplished. As a software developer who has daily business in their hands I have learned the discipline of careful architecture. Film making is even more complex than any web site as the only linearity is time. The dialog-action narrative will bump and assuage, turn and rotate, characters adapt, change and are emotionally forwarded by a change in situation and intensity.

That's where creative abstraction can enable a more in-depth picture as it doesn't complicate but isolates traits, reactive emotion, dynamic interaction and overarching thematic construction. There have been millions of visual narratives presented all over the world and this allows for enough diverse comparison that modern film makers need just review their "list of catalogued cinematic examples," some of which may be found in the review of old movies, some may be be found in the various analyses of "the original film makers." Be they right or wrong they started the ball rolling and a true embrace of the tenets of cinema and not the trappings of fame can lead to a freeing of words to emotion.

Welcome to the Revolution.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Just when I thought I was out...

We've extended our thesis a little more to cover elements of story. We're not going to expound greatly at this juncture but in essence the extension follows the same hierarchical pattern as before where:

The Subtext of the Story is the Characters,
the Subtext of the Characters is the Situation,
the Subtext of the Situation is the Dialog,
the Subtext of the Dialog is the Emotion,
the Subtext of the Emotion is the Personality
and the Subtext of the Personality is the Soul.

As always this fits with my earlier Circular Argument - that everything in cinema is defined as circular, where no matter where you are on the circumference of the cinematic experience, whether it be character, story, structure, they all intersect along the path.

For instance Story will determine what type of Characters you need, but the Characters can influence the Story based on their Personality - or the Subtext of their Emotion (one personality responds differently to the ambush than another). At the same time the Character will determine the Story as different Characters will end up "on the run" for different reasons.
For example, the Accountant will probably not be in a seedy bar when they overhear "McGuffin plans" or pick up the wrong "bag."

From the opposite perspective the Soul you wish to reveal will affect each of the things on the pyramid. From Dictionary.com "Soul" means:

the principle of life, feeling, thought and action in humans, regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body.....


the emotional part of human nature, the seat of the feelings or sentiments

The definition of Story is:

a report or account of a matter or a statement of allegation


a narrative, either true or fictitious, in prose or verse, designed to interest, amuse or instruct the hearer or reader; tale

Looking at the definition one gets a sense of similarity in that we are in effect writing "a report or account of the emotional part of human nature."

Or Revealing the Soul.

The Circular argument extends to the relationships of the definitions applied to all of the "Steps" of the hierarchy and I think we'll get to those later. I've got some software code to write.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Soul Has Been Revealed

A heavy sigh of relief emanates from deep within. I can slow down a little now and finish the six or so half done scripts in my pile.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Active vs. Reactive: The Art of Interaction

Howdy those who care,

We're back and though we've never used tags we seem to be coming back to this Active vs. Reactive thing. In my travels I've found that every conversation, meeting, presentation is based in this theorem. Cinema, as a reflection of life's studies and crises exemplifies this best as it transcends time making what happens today a reawakening memory after 20 years.

The one thing that is consistent in every form of cinematic expression is the necessity for personality interaction\conflict with the banality of the participants affecting the shape of the narrative where a mid level drug dealer and a scared rookie cop would make a different narrative than a cold blooded collector though the abstract view is that of cop chases or evades drug dealer and her minions. The dialog between disparate banality types - I'm an ENTJ who thought several questions sucked too bad to answer can cause characters to veer left or right which doesn't perhaps effect an increase or decrease in tension but does allow that 50 couples will react differently to a small kitchen fire.

Film makers need not worry why but use the abstract narrative to influence interaction. In those 50 couples there are an unlimited number of combinations of the active\reactive dialog types. A mixture of a Demanding Wife and Abrupt Husband creates a different character-dialog than even a Demanding Husband and Abrupt Wife where the Demanding Husband may use a humbling approach to retrieve admission of the source of the fire and the Demanding Wife may use a guilt-inducing approach to achieve the same result. The state of prominence of the character need not change with the difference in their active interaction though transposing character-dialog between them allows for a more rounded banality (used in place of personality for the purposes of international copyright) - wow hopefully the humor in my scripts is better. Wait who said that was a joke? OMG and he has multiple banalities - :-)

At any rate, the preceding is just designed to show that interaction is the key to good cinema which is why you don't want one-sided conversations, but everyone expressing themselves equally and subjectivity of the viewer (cinema of the seer) determines the leanings while the screenwriter merely determines who gets the last word - something Eula seemed to continually do to Rooster as they fought outlaws and carefully handled nitro.

In this sense we can say that underneath emotion is personality as different personalities will interact differently with other disparate personalities. On the one end of the spectrum you have the passive personality and the other end is of course the aggressive one. The most drama in these interactions can truly be garnered as personality types converge rather than diverge. If a character is too passive all interaction will be one-sided which can become tedious. But when there is an active verbal sparring that comes from "equally matched banality."(read:people who stand their ground)

This also enables a better path to "character parallels" as interaction with disparate personalities and types (dialog types - Demanding Sarcastic, Supportive Probing, Prohibitive Abrupt, etc). Active\reactive dialog is more so a way to look at personality by defining a person's purpose which then can guide you to the most "impressive" lines by determining both the active style of dialog and the reactive style for the character. Some characters may do better with more supportive active dialog but more Inhibiting reactive dialog whereas a different feel can be created by having the active dialog be usually Inhibitive while the reactive dialog can tend towards supportive. (Augie and Ronnie: Role Models)

Combining these types can paint a "dialog-picture" of the character more succinctly than a bio or history as the "dialog-picture" represents the moment where back-story can often cloud the scene - meaning a person should react in the moment as no one really has "flashbacks to childhood" before reacting. This is very important in cinema as everything needs to be more spontaneous and impactful as to elicit the most emotion in the viewer. When interaction is the key to your scene construction you have less opportunity to "talk to the audience" which is indeed a no-no. This violates the concept of the "cinema of the seer" where the viewer is a participant and therefore doesn't need "explanations" they need to be involved.

That's all for this post, but we will revisit the subject.

As an update, we actually did more fleshing out over at Go Into the Story:

I basically feel the same way. I think the writer can make implications about back story using props; I used a picture to imply the death of a parent, certainly actions; a character says, "Hey I've got a sister" when asked why he did something. The former being before the start and the former being after.

I always think about parents, siblings, birth place etc. as a part of the process and then I try to abstract the type of personality by showing their emotional reaction to situations.

I do this in the outline and then I will give that character a "dialog-interaction" frame - where they generally state things in a demanding way or supportive way or inhibiting way and respond to positive or negative interaction prohibitively or angrily or abruptly or sarcastically.

I've been working on a theorem that says using these emotional states leads better to personality which is in fact what people go to see.

So I guess backstory is good for the writer but not for the reader.

The full theorem is basically:
SITUATION sits above
EMOTION sits above


The subtext of the situation is the dialog, the subtext of the dialog is the emotion and the subtext of the emotion is the personality and the subtext of the personality is The Soul.

So after three years we have finally fulfilled the purpose of this blog. THough we will continue to refine the Active vs Reactive paradigm, we'll be doing more thought work for directing. As I've been studying it, I understand why you don't find a lot of Director blogs. It's nearly impossible to translate what you think in terms of blocking, framing etc. and how you work with actors could be considered trade secrets.

Onward and upward.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year

Ringing in 2010. Obviously I'm too busy to post this on New Year's but hell I'm only 2 days late. Here's to a lot of Revealing of Souls in the new Decade.