Archives For art

“Remember: you will never earn the same rewards as others without employing the same methods and investment of time as they do. It is unreasonable to think we can earn rewards without being willing to pay their true price. The person who “wins” at something has no real advantage over you because they had to pay the price for the reward.”

— Epictetus, A Manual for Living

There are times we can feel the overwhelming power of jealous and the great sense of failure when we size ourselves up with others who are deemed “successful.” Normally, I’m on my best guard when I let my own thoughts react to these situations but it was a special combination of “highly specialized individual” and the “undying thirst for knowledge.”

Then again, a good verbal barrage and the art of hijacking the conversation so you are the center of all things are usually what sells it home, especially giving it a few days to think about. To be honest, it started off as a friendly sharing of knowledge of literature and the love of books. I deeply wanted to get into the concepts and ideas of how stories are so great. It was on the topic of Russian literature (outside of popular culture, I knew little first hand) and French literature.

When it got to French literature, my brain connected towards to a recent purchase of The Count of Monte Cristo and how I wanted to see if this other person had read it and had an opinion of what the interwebs were saying about the new translation from Penguin Books was recommended as the best to read. I had only gotten the Modern Library version so… I wanted an answer if it was still worth it.

I never got that answer.

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SELF-SLAPPERY

Dec 18, 2017 — Leave a comment

Supposedly, it takes an average of 66 days to make or break a habit. Nope, it’s not 21 days apparently as we once thought before so… more days, more fun! Don’t worry, it’s just numbers being thrown around, so it shouldn’t really matter at all because we should focus on that aspect too long. It’s good for a visual so you can see what the heck is going on (like having a physical calendar to cross each day off whenever your successful so you can have that gratification in completing something).

The days can be daunting but if you don’t get one down, you’ll never get to day two or day 66 or even… day 500. It’s all about routine and so… maybe it’s just wise for you to stop now and just open up that word document you have been putting off and just write out 500 words… no wait, make it just even 250 words. Yeah, that’s better… just do it.

It’s taking a long hard fight to realize that excuses are the enemy. That and blaming. While all that energy is being put into that pile of useless thought, we could be finishing that screenplay, doing push-ups, or finishing that book you left two months ago.

B-b-but, I’m just suffering from a block! I can’t get into the FLOW! It’s just a struggle! So, it’s okay for me to complain about the pain so I can deal with it… Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight?
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Instant gratification. The modernization of how we view and consume media. The ultra portability of our smartphones and tablets and Chromebooks, show us that our future lies deeply connected to the online world and no longer hardwired to a local drive. We have, and myself included, accepted the death of the big screen story.

Yeah, it’s true. I no longer find myself eager enough to watch the latest and greatest films in the cinema because they aren’t worth the time or effort. It’s not only the lack of innovative creators (aside from the few) but the way they are marketed and how much is known about them. There are a few films that remain strong in their beliefs, but they can afford to do that because they almost have a guaranteed fanbase to thrive upon.

We’re all looking at you, Disney, you clever mouse, you.

For the little guy, the small branded filmmakers, we cannot win over the masses and sometimes need to do some underground marketing that takes a lot of effort and time to execute. And this is where they put together some shit ass trailers.

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I never went to film school. Probably will never attend a school. I did take workshops at film initiatives and even graduated from a dedicated Scriptwriting Program and watched thousands of movies at home… and even took a free online course about the history and the use of color and sound in movies.

Is it worth it? All the trouble and following the alternative path?

I have already accepted my fate as a non-filmmaker but a more writer-ly goal. That I can control and that I can continue to dance freely as possible at home and trying to construct the right amount of words to make people feel good, scared, sad, and pissed off. I need that fix and there’s nothing more uplifting than the high of a writer from writing a few thousand words. It’s always the beginning flow that takes so goddamn long and then after a good hard run of words, you just can’t stop.

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I loved and will always love the TV series, LOST.

I’m not as crazy as some people can be but I’m not as hateful as some people are about the final season of the show. It was quite clear that the finale revealed the parallel timeline to be the epilogue and not the whole “they were dead the whole time” — what does it really mean to be dead? Could it be the final few minutes of Jack dreaming up a whole scenario as his brain shuts off? Or is it the life after life that isn’t comprehensible by our logic in this world? 

But, it existed in a time when it seemed almost impossible for it exists. And compared to the shows that did come after it… you could poke holes here and there and express the agony and pain of certain arcs that could have been tightened up or expressed more. There were the important bits that made it fun and addictive. And then, there were the important people moments. It drew upon its own love of other source materials, some that were apparent and clear and other sources that seemed a little blurred or coincidental. 

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The life of the writer is filled with long hours of sitting down. Back in 2013, during my “Lost Weekend” phase, I was spending a lot of time trying to write. I did experiment with a standing desk thing and, at first, it worked. I got addicted and that addiction fucks with your knees pretty bad. Moderation was the major key here if you are ever curious how that whole thing worked.

Fast forward to present day and I’m still not really hitting the gym as I wished. But I have been working two teaching jobs and spending a bulk of my time outside and on my feet. During my time in Vietnam, I spent a majority of my time standing and it affected my knees a lot. So I opted to keep moving around and only resorted to sitting when required.

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I was writing an email to a colleague. Got into the subject of screenwriting. Then I thought about what I learned in the past year and five months. So, here is a variation of that summary I wrote in that recent email. It’s like the bare essentials… it’s the DIY / low-cost way of beginning to learn the screenwriting craft.

And it goes like this:

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