Web Series: ‘Dynamo’

This is the first web series that has genuinely creeped out this TVWriter™ minion…in a good way. These guys definitely know how to put together some very scary shit!

So what is Dynamo?

It’s like a sequence of events (but not in that order). It’s like an array of words and representational images.

It’s an experiment. It’s a story. It’s a series of shorts. It’s a sci-fi/fantasy/’cute cyberpunk’ webseries. It’s the result of four years of late night discussions between friends. It’s a convoluted puzzle about the nature of reality (and monsters! and horrible romance!) It’s a narrative with layers of interlocking pieces. It’s the best thing we know how to make- and it’s pretty wacky!

Check it out HERE and HERE

From the “Mouths of Writers”

Found on the interwebs:

Words for Creatives to Live By

LB: At Last! The Real Differences Between Writing Film, TV & the Printed Word

by Larry Brody

One of my favorite blogs is ComicMix, which quite simply is the most more interesting and best written and edited sources of comics industry information on the net. (You may have noticed that TVWriter™ regularly features columns by two of Comic Mix’s glorious writers, John Ostrander and Dennis O’Neil.)

I admire the blog’s entire staff for its varied comic book work and its amazing insight into creativity as a whole. Today’s case in point is the most recent column by CM’s Marc Alan Fishman, one of the creator-partners at indie comics company Unshaven Comics and a force to be conjured with indeed.

“Game On, Comics Off,” the particular column in question is a look into the relationship between video games and their comic book spin-offs as Marc discusses why the comic book versions of hugely successful games like World of Warcraft, Assassin’s Creed et al so often end up tanking when it comes to sales.

It’s quite a perceptive analysis, but that’s not a subject that TVWriter™ has much to do with. What knocked me out, as we used to say back in the days of Frank Sinatra and the ratpack, was an absolutely spot on throwaway paragraph that positively screamed, “Epiphany! Epiphany!” and which I think all of us who write TV, film, and prose fiction of any kind should take to heart.

Here’s The Paragraph To Always Remember:

When a book becomes a movie, the movie must drop nuance and backstory for increases in action and visual exploration of settings. When a movie becomes a TV show, it drops the quality of the settings, and becomes stifled by commercial breaks interrupting story. When a TV show becomes a movie, it loses the ability to explore nuanced characterizations afforded to longer interactions across multiple episodes.

Got that? Read it again. And again. The bottom line here is that Marc has answered, clearly, succinctly, and incredibly accurately, the age old fan question: “But why isn’t the [film] [TV show] [book] more like the [book] [TV show] [movie]?” in a way that not only is easy to explain to fans but also clarifies the adaptation process for everyone involved in writing said adaptations.

In other words, if you let Marc’s words roll around in your head and become fully absorbed, the odds are very, very good that the next time you attack an adaptation project the writing is going to be not only better but easier because you’ll have a finer grasp on what it is you have to do.

And anything that makes the world’s most difficult creative endeavor (AKA writing) easier is to me as important and sacred as the most revered pronouncementfrom, yeah, God.

Thank you, Marc Alan Fishman, from the bottom of my creative soul.

And as long as we’re talking about it, why not check out the full column HERE ?

David Perlis reviews ‘Rogue One’

EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s begging a thousand pardons time as TVWriter™ acknowledges that we fucked up bigtime. We’ve had David Perlis’ review of Rogue One for months now but totally lost track of its place in our Secret Subterranean Vault, and it only re-surfaced yesterday.

Our apologies to David and Star Wars fandom as a whole for depriving them of David’s opinions back when they were timely. Forgive us – puhleeze!

Okay, David, we’ve abased ourselves enough, yeah? Over to you, dood:

Rogue One Review…Finally!
by David Perlis

THE ACCURATE AND NUANCED PLOT SUMMARY

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…

Young Ian McKellen blackmails bad-guy turned good-guy Galen Erso into building the Death Star. Fifteen years later, Captain-Rebel finds Galen’s daughter Jin (Jyn? Gin? Jen?), to help find Forest Whitaker (a sort of Che Guevara—whose name, I think, actually was Che Guevara), to find the pilot guy, to find Galen, to find the Death Star plans. Along the way, they pick up Donnie Yen and Donnie Yen’s friend. No one knows their names. Not even the writers. CGI Tarkin is taking credit for all of Sir Ian’s work, so Sir Ian complains to Vader, who has a mother fucking castle on Mustafar with a mother fucking BACTA TANK! That was cool. Vader calls Sir Ian whiney (I could have done without Vader’s puns), so Sir Ian flies to Deep Space 9. Galen dies. Jin flies to the planet that DS9 hovers over to steal the Death Star plans. Master switch and satellites abound. More rebels show up and botch everything. Master switch and satellite and a big battle—then Jin steals the plans. The Death Star arrives, and Sir Ian has this rather beautifully moment of realization that his life’s passion is about to pee all over him in the form of a big green Super Laser.

The entire cast is blown up.

And you think it’s over, right? NOPE! ‘Cause just as the rebels escape, Vader shows up, and I swear, it’s the best five minutes in cinematic history. Vader goes fucking ape shit, and even though you know they escape with the plans, you just keep thinking “Jesus Christ! They’re gonna lose! Vader is right there, and they’re gonna fucking lose!” And your concrete memories of exactly what happens in A New Hope are put into serious doubt, but then of course they escape, and the movie ends with a shot of CGI C-Fish saying “Hope.”

QUESTION FROM THE AUDIENCE

Got it. But how did yesterday’s far superior and inspired post give a respectable B- to a film that you, yourself, suggested can largely be ignored for a good romp in the sack?

Rogue One is good. Sex is better.

WHY SEX IS BETTER THAN ROGUE ONE

Good sex is better. The kind you have in the back of a packed theatre. With Red Hots. And THX.

The final five or so minutes alone make this movie a blessing in mine eyes. Vader slaughtering the rebels? My oh my!  And there were other moments throughout that really lit me up…can’t think of ’em right now. Anyhoo!—overall, the movie just didn’t suck me in the way a good ole’ garbage chute getaway does. I doubt I’ll be watching Rogue One yearly, as I do with the Original Trilogy—and I chalk that up to a few different things:

MISSED OPPORTUNITIES

Forest Whitaker’s Che Guevera was cool. Cool like Luke—from Cool Hand Luke. A rebel extremist at odds with our familiar band of heroes. A paranoid, maybe even schizo, cyborg. Hell yeah. I tell ya, I was prepared to watch an anti-hero test our protagonist’s morals and start fucking up best-laid plans in Acts II and III before succumbing to his fatal flaws. Greek drama at its finest. Instead, he’s killed off on the fringe of Acts I and II, never serving more than a hiccup of an obstacle, and adding twenty-odd minutes of “so what?”

I’m not sure what writers saw as Che’s dramatic purpose, but every hope I had for him basically fizzled out with an anti-climactic death. Boo.

By the way, that “fatal flaw” is known as “hammartia” in pretentious drama-speak. Yeeeeep.

MEGO

It’s a criticism one of my 4000-level writing profs turned me onto back in college. MEGO: My Eyes Glazed Over. Like when your mind just won’t process the logorrhea served up to you, but fuck it, you’ll fake it later.

I’m afraid I had my share of Rogue One MEGOs. It usually happens when there’s a lot of lateral plot points, without going deeper into the complexity of existing plot points.

QUESTION FROM THE AUDIENCE

Lateral plot points? Wut? MEGO, man! MEGO!

Just sayin, having to find this dude, to get to that dude, cause of this dude…it’s a set series of road bumps that I just want to get to the end of ’cause it could basically be condensed with no real change. I sorta ignored all of Rogue One‘s technical details for the same reason. Hyperdrive doesn’t work? Got it. Need to shut down a tractor beam? Right there with ya. But master switch, ’cause satellite, but the shield and oops tangled power cordwhatever, there’s laser beams, so I’ll just…Yeah. Hand me a Red Hot?

Miss a line of dialogue, and your understanding for the next ten minutes is reduced to “rebels vs Empire.” But it’s at least explosive.

QUESTION FROM THE AUDIENCE

You’re bummin’ me out, man! Can’t you give me something positive?! I already bought my ticket!

No problema! (I’d also like to direct you to my lighter, more respectable post from yesterday).

GALEN ERSO: THE GALAXY’S FIRST SCIENTIST

I bet you never even noticed that Star Wars was scientist-free before now. Didja? Didja?!

Had he spent too much time onscreen, I might have lost interest in Mr. Erso. But oh how those crafty writers kept him elusive and mysterious, perfectly balancing his evil deeds with his misgivings. I love his stoicism. I love his empathy. I love that I remember his name.

Yes, Mr. Erso adds a lovely shade of gray to our “light” and “dark” Star Wars arenas. Gray—just like his beautiful, thick locks. His engineering genius is a welcome addition to our normal cast of philosophers, pilots, smugglers, knights, politicians, bounty hunters, farmers, salesman, and 1960s fry cooks. I wish he would have worn a space visor, but, I can forgive that one.

Galen Erso. Solid A+ for me.

Shit. I just remembered those Kamino cloner dudes. That was pretty sciencey. They’ve ruined my point, and now I hate that movie even more.

Moving on? Moving on.

PILOT GUY

That’s all he will ever be to me: Pilot Guy. Just like “Oversized Munchkin,” Or “Stupid Podracer Kid.” He got us from A to Z by filling gaps other characters couldn’t. But that’s about it. Pilot Guy: Licensed Gap Filler. (I swear, if anyone makes a lewd comment…) And it’s not just Pilot Guy. He’s just the poster child for the others, like Donnie Yen, and Donnie Yen’s friend. Just kinda there. No real dramatic intention. Sometimes you toss him a problem only he can solve—maybe something with the master switch!—but that’s about it.

No, I didn’t much care for Pilot Guy—But this comes with one very important caveat. (“Caveat” may not be the right word, but I can’t think of the one I want. So we’ll stick with “caveat.”)

THE IMPORTANT CAVEAT TO DISLIKING PILOT GUY (AND EVERYONE ELSE)

The capacity to forget Pilot Guys does work beautifully in one way: He may be nothing more than Pilot Guy to me, but you can’t help but feel that, in the long run, that’s all he was to the alliance, too. One of the many forgettable pilot guys. Ya don’t see portraits of him, or Captain-Rebel or Jin Erso lined up at the altar when Luke, Han, and Chewie get their shiny medals, do ya? In our decades long war, lots of people die, and lots of people are forgotten. Rogue One is the story of unsung heroes, and I appreciate that about it.

Rest in peace, Pilot Guy.

The Greatest Success of Rogue One

I think the prime directive (someone’s going to murder me for that one) for Rogue One was to bridge the prequels with the Original Trilogy. A piece of a greater puzzle. From all the small continuity nods (killing off Red Five, anyone?) to the fan boy moments (seriously—Vader in a bacta tank), it satisfies all those little questions we ever had with little complaint. If that’s it’s only job, it does it brilliantly, and I give it an A.

But I feel compelled to look at a movie’s ability to stand on its own two legs, no matter its primary purpose. And for all the reasons I’ve already mentioned, I’ve gotta take it from the A down to the B-. Maybe a B if I’m high.

And there it is, my friends. A much too long, and unnecessary review of Rogue One. Be sure to comment below.


David Perlis is a screenwriter and former People’s Pilot Finalist doing his best to break into the even Bigger Time.

How Not to Be A Writer

This article about Westworld’s truly obnoxious writer character, Lee Sizemore, is in a word irresistible.

Don’t be like this, kids. No matter how much you wish you could get away with it…in real life, nuh-uh.

How Not to Be A Writer: Lessons from Westworld’s Obnoxious Writer Character Lee Sizemore
by Pinar Tarhan

Westworld is an impressive sci-fi, drama and mystery series on HBO. It recently completed its first season, and got nominated for a couple of Golden Globe Awards. I’ll be soon posting my review on my entertainment blog; I’m a huge fan.

The casting is pretty terrific: Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, James Marsden, Ben Barnes, Anthony Hopkins and Ed Harris.

But for those who haven’t seen it, here is a brief rundown of what’s what: (No spoilers):

Westworld is an advanced theme park where guests mingle with (and do pretty much anything they want to or with) the park’s residents: Magnificent AI robots that look, act, think and feel like humans. The catch is that they don’t know they are AIs, and the “merciful” creator of the park, Ford (Anthony Hophins) has designed them and the rules so that they don’t remember what they have done or what they have gone through. This causes an infinite loop for them: living the same day over and over again, with the exceptions of what the guests have in mind.

The “main” AIs are Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and Maeve (Thandie Newton). Dolores leads a peaceful existence in their Wild West town with her parents. Maeve runs the brothel.

While some guests prefer family friendly tours and activities, others love wrecking havoc and mayhem: Man in Black (Ed Harris) is on a quest to make the most of it by reaching levels not achieved by other guests. He commits murder, rapes, attacks, tortures….Whatever to get him closer to get to that level.

How Not To Be A Writer: 5 Important Lessons from Westworld

And behind it all is a corporation that has to deal with politics, and the board members are not always pleased with how Ford operates. There is also the work of Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman), the writer whose job is to come up with entertaining AI storylines.

Lee is pretty much a guide on how not to be a writer, man or a human being. He’s obnoxious, insincere, closed to criticism, immature, opportunistic, and insincere. Everyone either hates him, is annoyed by him, or just doesn’t give a damn about him.

Ford thinks he is a joke and mostly ignores or changes whatever he writes. The board sees him as a pawn they can use or discard according to what they need….

Read it all at Pinar Tarhan’s blog

Dennis O’Neil: Ha Ha Ha

by Dennis O’Neil

Here’s the plan. You’ll wait until the office is closed for the day and the lights are all out and then, possibly wearing a tool belt, you’ll sneak inside and remove the appliance from its place near the big chair and take it home and put it on the couch and sit next to it. Then you’ll tune in NBC’s new comedy, Powerless. (Did I mention that this will be on Thursday night?)

You’ll turn on the laughing gas machine, the one that belongs to your dentist and place the mask over your nose and mouth. This is necessary, according to you, because you might not find the show funny and yet it’s supposed to make you laugh and if it doesn’t you’ll feel frustrated and to avoid this ugly feeling you can sniff the laughing gas and have yourself a good chuckle and maybe a gas-induced laugh is better than none at all.

Enough of that.

I know very little about Powerless, not much more than it’s about an insurance company that deals with the collateral damage that would inevitably accompany the damage superheroes cause while doing their superstuff. Not the worst premise I’ve ever encountered.

This is not new, this conflation of humor with superheroics.

A few weeks back, I mentioned Herbie the Fat Fury, who appeared in the American Comics Group titles, and Hoppy the Marvel Bunny, part of the Captain Marvel posse,  and The Inferior Five which, if memory serves, was about a quintet of costumed goofballs who did superheroish feats of the goofball variety. And on television there were Captain Nice and Mr. Terrific, whose live action adventures may have been inspired by Batman.

Ah, Batman. Saving the best for last, were we? Batman, of course, was a comic book crusader for years before he made his way to the tube. He had also appeared in two movie serials, in newspapers, and as an occasional guest star on the Superman radio series. So it was probably no great surprise that he’d pop into your living room sooner or later.

But how he popped – that may have qualified as a surprise. This Batman was not merely a dark clad vigilante who prowled the city ever seeking to avenge his parents’ murder by assaulting crime wherever it was found – he was a dark-clad comedian who assaulted crime. Yep. Funny ha-ha kind of dude.

I won’t burden you with my opinions on how Batman’s comedy was achieved. Let’s just agree that is was achieved, for a while quite successfully. Then public taste moved on, leaving Batman to a protracted afterlife in rerun city. Quirky thing: Adults coming to the show for the first time tend to see it as what is was intended to be: funny. Kids, though, are more likely to enjoy it as action-adventure. I await explanations but not, I confess, on tenterhooks.

Meanwhile, we have a new show to sample.

Maybe we’re lucky.


Dennis O’Neil is one of the top writer-editors in comics, having guided the careers of just about every superhero the world has ever heard of. He’s also a damn fine writer of TV. LB still remembers that time he and Denny collaborated, without ever knowing they were doing so. Or knowing each other either. Ah, the magic of TV! This post was first published in Denny’s column at ComicMix.

munchman reviews a Francis Ford Coppola Idea

by munchman

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