27 March 2012

You just don't get it do you?

You have something to explain but how do you tell the reader/viewer?

Well, it looks like you start with the words"

You just don't get it do you?

Then you explain ... Check out this montage:


20 March 2012

Love, Death & other essentials.

Just to show love can happen anywhere...

"When beloved director Spike Jonze, he of Being John Malkovic and Where The Wild Things Are fame, met handbag designer Olympia Le-Tan, he fell in love with her intricate embroidery and asked for an embroidered cover of Catcher in the Rye to put on his wall. Le-Tan agreed, but asked for a film in return. The result was Mourir Auprès de Toi (To Die By Your Side) — an absolutely beautiful stop-motion animation for book-lovers.

Set inside iconic Parisian bookstore, the film tells the story of the skeleton from the cover of Macbeth, voiced by Jonze himself, who falls in love with Mina Harker on the cover of Dracula. He sets out to meet her, but loses his head to a French version of The Big Clock on the way, trips and falls into Faulkner’s Sartoris, and is then swallowed by Moby-Dick. Harker, voiced by French singer Soko, springs to his rescue, punching the legendary whale in the face with a mischievous smirk. The happily-ever-after ending comes only after an appropriately dark and grim twist."

No embedding possible but here's the link: To Die by your Side.

I totally enjoyed this short :)

13 March 2012

25 ways to F*** with your characters

25 ways to F*** with your characters (or building conflict one cruelty at a time).

As storyteller, you are god. And to be frank, if you want the story to be interesting, you’re not a particularly nice god. After all if life is nothing but a pretty, sunny day in the park, without even a hint of rain clouds in the distance - well, that's just not very exciting to read is it? With that in mind I rather liked this list:

1. Your Proxy: The Antagonist

Gods have avatars, mortal or semi-mortal beings that exist on earth to embody the deity’s agenda. Avatars — be it Krishna, Jesus, or the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man — are the quite literal hand of god within the material plane. And so it is that the antagonist is the avatar of the storyteller, at least in terms of fucking with the other characters. A well-written and fully-realized antagonist is your proxy in the storyworld who steps in and is the hand holding the garden trowel that continues to get shoved up the protagonist’s most indelicate orifice. The antagonist stands actively in the way of the protagonist’s deeds and desires.

2. The Mightiest Burden

The audience and the character must know the stakes on the table — “If you don’t win this poker game, your grandmother will lose her beloved pet orangutan, Orange Julius.” But as the storyteller, you can constantly adjust those stakes, turning up the heat, the fumes, the volume until the character’s carrying an Atlas-like burden on his shoulders. The world’s fate suddenly rests in his hands. Character fails at his task and he loses his wife, his family, and all the nuclear missiles in the world will suddenly launch. In unrelated news: Orange Julius is the best name for an orangutan ever. Go ahead. Prove me wrong. Show your work.

3. Never Tell Me The Odds

Impossible odds are a powerful way to fuck with a character. “It’s you versus that whole army of sentient spam-bots, dude. And they’ve got your girlfriend.” It certifies that the task at hand is an epic one, and is the dividing line between hero and zero. Confirming heroism means beating those odds. Confirming mortality means falling to them. Note that a character doesn’t always have to beat the odds. Failure is an option.

4. Torn Between Two Horses

Drop the character smack dab between two diametrically opposed choices. A character is torn between a love for her country and a love for her family. She’s torn between her obsessive devotion to science and her religious upbringing. She’s torn between saving the life of Orange Julius the genetically-modified super-orangutan or giving all the world’s children infinite ice cream. Okay, maybe not that last one. Point is, tie your character to two (or more!) difficult choices, and let those horses run like motherfuckers.

5. Life On The QT, The Down-Low, The No-No-Nuh-Uh

Give the character an untenable secret life: a forbidden romance, a taboo, a transgression. Confirm that the revelation of this secret life will destroy her. “As soon as they find out you’re really an android, Mary, I can no longer protect you.” The character must constantly protect her secret life, must constantly work against revelation. And you as storyteller will constantly threaten that, won’t you? Because you’re evil.

6. Deny Success With Speedbumps, Roadblocks, Snarling Tigers

This one? So easy. Whenever your character reaches for That Thing He Wants (a girl, a cookie, world peace, a leprechaun’s little hat), slap his face. Throw a tiger in his path. Chop off his hand. Thwart his every grope for the brass ring. That said, don’t let your story become torture porn. A character needs smaller iterative successes to match the longer, larger failures. “I didn’t get the leprechaun’s hat, but I got one of his little shoes. We can use it to track him.”

7. Go Down The “Do Not Want” Checklist

You frequently hear that a character is defined in part by what he wants, but you will find it useful to take the opposite tack, too. Take your character. Dangle that poor fucker by the ears. Give him a good look-over and pick, mmm, say, five things he does not want. Outcomes he fears. He doesn’t want his wife to leave him. He doesn’t want to die young. He doesn’t want to have his penis stolen by wizards. Now, your job, as Evil Mastermind Storyteller is to constantly put the character in danger of these outcomes coming true.

8. A Victory That Tastes Of Wormwood

An old classic: “We finally got the leprechaun’s hat! Ha ha, now we’ve the little basta — OH MY GOD THE HAT IS FILLED WITH BEES.” Die Hard has exquisite false victories. John McClane succeeds in calling the authorities and ultimately ends up causing a bigger shitstorm as a result.

9. Storyteller As Robber Fly

Everybody has something they love. Identify those things. Then take one away. Or more than one! “Sorry, dear character, in the fire you lost your house, your husband, and your mystical manrikigusari given to you by your immortal sensei.” You have a choice, here, of paths, a divergence of “lost now” and “lost forever.” Lost now intimates the story can continue, and in fact, the reclamation of lost things is a story unto itself. Lost forever moves the conflict inward, where a character must learn to deal with that loss.

10. Tickle Them With A Ticking Clock

If you ever wish to squeeze my heart and cause my blood pressure to build so that my brain is smothered by swollen arteries, give me a ticking clock time limit in a video game. Freaks me out. Do that to your character. Throw him, his goals, his story, between the turning gears of a ticking clock. “You have one week to save Orange Julius from the leprechaun cult. After that? He becomes one of them.”

11. Beat The Donkey Piss Out Of Them

Again we call upon John McClane, who ends up basically sticking a gun to his back in his own blood at the end of Die Hard. A simple way of dicking with your character is to hurt them. Again. And again.

12. Shot Through The Heart, And You’re To Blame

That being said, a broken jaw, shattered foot, or stapled labia has nothing on the betrayal by a loved one. Maybe it comes down to a simple, “I’m leaving you in this, the moment you need me most,” or maybe it’s, “For your own good, I’ve alerted the police. They’re on their way. I’m so sorry. Now hand me the orangutan.” However it shakes out, the treachery of a loved one is a deeply twisting knife.

13. Shattering Lives With Your Story Hammer

Think about all the pieces of the puzzle that add up to a picture of “you.” Now, do the same for your character. Imagine all those identifiers: lover, father, friend, sheriff, amateur chef, jazz fiend, leprechaun hunter. Now, break the puzzle apart. Throw away most of the pieces. Calamity and cataclysm rob the character of his fundamental identifiers. Force him to question who he even is anymore. What impels him forward? How does he rebuild? What is rebuilt?

14. Shatter Their Preconceived Notions

A deeper, more internal version of the last: take what the character thinks she knows — maybe about her family, her government, her childhood — and throw that paradigm out on its buttbone. The character’s comprehension of events and elements has been all wrong. And not in a good way. The character must respond. Must act. Can’t just go on living like everything’s the same.

15. Motherfucking Love Triangle

The love triangle. Never a more hackneyed, overwrought device — but, just the same, a device that works like a charm if invoked with skill and nuance. Becky loves Rodrigo and has since they were young. But Orange Julius vies for her attention and Rodrigo is off fighting the Spam-Bots in the Twitter War of 2015. And Orange Julius is one sexy orangutan. Who does she choose? Swoon! You needn’t stop at three participants. What about a love rhombus, aka the “lovetangle?” Point is, this is a more specific version of forcing the character into a difficult choice. Do it right and the audience will be right there with you, wearing their shirts, TEAM RODRIGO or TEAM SEXY ORANGUTAN. Gang wars in the streets.

See the rest of Chuck's list here.

06 March 2012

Cool photos

Last 2 posts have been kinda text heavy, so how about something non brain straining, something where you can just sit back and go "oooo".  Yeah, that's what I feel like too.