Storycraft: The Bad Boy, the Best Friend, and the Goody Two-Shoes

Time for more character archetypes, this time focusing on secondary characters. I go over three classics, including their growth arcs, traits, and typical relationship to other characters. They are: Bad Boy – a character that goes from a nihilistic or chaotic approach to life and authority to a purpose-driven life. Frequently, this is a focus for a romance story, as a Bad Boy represents a popular fantasy: a strong, confident male that can be transformed into being stable while maintaining masculine traits. Best Friend – mostly a foil for the main character, a best friend has different, often opposite, strengths…

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How to write the opening line and first five thousand words of a book

Another storycraft video, here I explain the technical details of opening a book, including examples from the classics and my own work to see how I execute the beginning of a book.

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Writestream 10/31/2018 – NaNoWriMo Prep

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Prometheus and the Farm

Prior to beginning my little series on farm parables, I made a video discussing the symbolism of the farm, as well as the symbolism of Prometheus, and how those too semiologies line up.

Errors of Addition

Let us examine the two most common types of thinking errors that occur within the human mind, as I have witnessed and experienced as a writer, critic, philosopher, and political commentator. These are errors not of argument (though they can cause poor argumentation), but in understanding. The first is the error of Addition, which is where one adds information to a set of data or facts. The second is the error of Ignorance¸ in which one ignores or down-plays information that is relevant to a subject or judgment. Of these two errors, ignorance is the one that has over the…

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Opportunity Cost and Cost of Entry – an author and musician’s perspective

This video was a response to the following comment:

You are missing the opportunity cost. As an economist I have to tell you you might need to rethink your business model. A problem in all businesses with giving free samples or discounts is that you drown the market. There is a finite number of people in the world willing to buy an indi medieval fantasy, or japanese shogun historical fantasy. If you give out free copies of your product the first people to take those are the ones that have the highest demand for it. Its like a restaurant giving a wednesday discount because its the low day. But what happens is that all the fans of your restaurant that come saturday night and pay full price, come Wednesday to get the same food cheaper, and since they already ate once this week they wont come at your place on the weekend. I just published yesterday my first paper back yesterday, and ebook, and second publication are on the pipeline. Thank you David your videos helped a lot and kept me motivated to finish. all that said $500 is not cool. What I think is realistic is to get $500 from my first book in one year assuming i keep publishing all year long. How much did you pay for ISBN, Copy right, printing essentials, and all other small expenses? From a purely accounting point of view you might be at a loss, from an economical point of view you are down the equivalent of minimum wage hours dedicated into writing, editing, and everything else.

 

 

Black Panther: Review and Analysis

Production Aesthetics – 9/10 Tribal African inspired sets and costumes are eclectic, but effective, and always visually interesting. This film is superior in aesthetic value to the majority of superhero flicks, presenting things that are rooted in the familiar, yet unfamiliar, as opposed to Thor, which is much more fantastical compared to the Norse aesthetics that supposedly inspired it.   Cinematography and Special Effects – 8/10 The special effects are generally very effective, but there are plenty of seams to be found within the impressive visuals, from odd-looking war rhinos to CG stuntmen that look more like dull plastic than…

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi Review (No spoilers)

I put this review out on YouTube the day of release, but I haven’t been keeping up with dvspress except for fiction (lately, at least), so in case you missed it, here is my spoiler-free consumer-focused review of  Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.

 

Basic Breakdown:

Production total – 8.7/10

Aesthetics: 9/10 – Delivers the OT aesthetics in sharp detail, use of specific colors is effective.

Effects: 9/10 – Excellent CG and cinematic effects. The movie is comparable to the prequels fidelity if a bit less baroque and unconvincing with some of the cg characters.

Sound design (abstain) – The theater was not set up properly and the sound peaked constantly, but I think the sound design was likely a great improvement over the Force Awakens.

Cinematography – 8/10 – The cinematography was good, and generally shots were well-edited and showed the action clearly, though even at two-and-a-half hours the editing felt a little too tight. A descent iteration of contemporary editing strategies.

Story Total – 3/10

Characters/Acting: 4/10 – Andy Serkis and Mark Hamill deliver strong, convincing performances that take up too little screen time. Every other performance was bad, and was accentuated by terrible dialogue, missed humor (and indeed humor that was wildly out of place in a Star Wars film), and poor casting. None of the characters act in a normal, human way, and all the characters lack any sort of consistent moral beliefs. The female characters, in particular, were offensively incompetent and bitchy stereotypes, clearly made by a gamma male who doesn’t believe in the feminism he is trying to portray.

Plot: 2/10 – Nothing in the plot makes sense in the greater Star Wars universe, or especially with the setups of The Force Awakens. Nihilism is the main theme, probably unintentionally, as Rian Johnson is clearly incapable of understanding basic moral action, virtues, or common sense. A large portion of the movie (~45 minutes) is completely pointless, undermines the mcguffin of the movie (The First Order can track through lightspeed, and yet characters lightspeed away to have a jaunt in a casino planet). The entire plot would have been avoided had any character acted like a normal, well-adjusted human being.

General Effect – 2/10

Aside from a few “Star Wars” moments, the movie is a disaster and an insult to fans. Rian Johnson, with one single work, sweeps away decades of world-building in the Star Wars universe. The hero of the Original Trilogy, Luke Skywalker, is revealed to be a villainous, cowardly and pathetic human. The mystery boxes of Force Awakens are used to insult fans by making fun of them waiting for reveals that would make the nonsense of the previous movie make sense. In a break of the fourth wall, a character tells the audience to “let the past die, kill it if you have to,” essentially telling them off for being fans or being attached to older Star Wars movies. New Force powers are pulled out pockets at will as gotchas, with no prior vision of them in earlier movies and no explanation of how any character learned them.

Rey, the Mary Sue of the first movie, is at the end of the movie able to surpass Luke in every way, including beating him in a duel, having just learned about the force a week prior (as this movie takes place right after TFA).

The entire affair is deeply insulting and I believe will harm the long-term value of the franchise.

Final Score: 4.5/10

I recommend this movie for people who want a cinematic special effects experience with Star Wars aesthetics, but don’t care at all for a good story and generally don’t have an attachment to Star Wars in general.

 

From Concept to Published book in 30 days – National Novel Writing Month #NaNoWriMo

I made a decision while making a video the other day on the bootcamp mindset that I was going to do National Novel Writing Month. Of course, being me, I felt I had to up the stakes and the challenge from “writing 50,000 words” to “put out a novel in 30 days.” This process will involve all four phases of book creation (planning, drafting, revising, and publishing) in an extremely condensed and (though limited) intense fashion. NaNoWriMo (as some call it) focuses entirely on phase 2 – drafting, encouraging people to get to that mythical 50k mark in the space…

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Movie Analysis and Review (video)

Awhile back I did a video on what is technically a prequel to the Harry Potter novel series, a movie called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. With the screenplay penned by series author J.K. Rowling (rather than a screenwriter adapting one of her books), the film is interesting for several reasons. First, it isn’t actually an adaption of Rowling’s book, it is more the story of the fictional character that “wrote” that book, which is a companion book to the main 7 book Harry Potter book sequence. Second, it breaks many of the “Rules” of modern cinema, avoiding the tropes…

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