Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is intended to do just what the title implies: update its viewers on the current events of the past week. Currently in the throws of election season it’s 27th episode left me wanting a little more. The first ten minutes were set aside for what almost every episode of the past two months has been, Donald Trump and the cloud of crazy that follows him everywhere. At this point I’m under the assumption that Last Week Tonight has already lost all of its radical and not so radical republican viewership. So this portion of the show has kind of devolved into a “you’re preaching to the choir” bit that is just making everyone close their eyes and pray for election day to come and go.
I went to Literati today. There is just something about independent bookstores that helps me justify spending an inordinate amount of money on something I could get on amazon for a third of the price. As my grandmother would say, “We like to support the local community.”
So I’m standing there looking at the memoirs, books on writing, ect. and I hear a voice I recognize. I turn around and sure enough my supervisor for my internship last summer is at the counter. I should preface that this woman made me miserable and was impossible to please. So I did what any good comedy has taught me to do, I pulled out a book from the shelf and pretended to be engrossed in it and deliberately hid my face. I swear to you, next thing I know this women who I despise is standing six inches away from me looking at the same shelf I am. Unlike a movie however my disguise worked and thankfully there was no awkward encounter but it was to close for comfort.
Anyway the assignment.
Surrounded by books with titles like Changing the Subject, Bad Feminist and I Think You’re Totally Wrong, I found myself thinking this is it. If I were to ever write a book this is the type of book I would want it to be. One that highlights the voice of the author and the subject doesn’t even matter. I picked up lots of the books and flipped through them and almost every one that I stopped to read made me want to buy it so I could finish reading it.
One of the things I’ve been thinking about since I left (besides the regret I have about not buying more of the books) is why are there so many books beautifully written about writing? Is it as simple as writers are writers and thats what they know and therefore are good at it? Part of me hopes that’s not the case. But how come there are no beautifully written book about putting engines together? Is it audience? Do mechanics not want to be told poetically how to attach a muffler?
Another thing I found compelling about this side of the book store is how many of the books didn’t solely contain writing. They let form help steer the reader and narrative. There was this really interesting book called In Other Words. The narrative described this woman’s overwhelming urge to learn Italian and is this beautiful love letter to Italy. What’s cool about the book is that one side is written in Italian and the other in English. I thought that was a unique way to let form also be a participant in the story telling.
In the end, I left with two new books in my bag and 37 fewer dollars in my pocket.
As usual with daunting tasks my anxiety ridden brain has split into to teams battling it out to see who will be victorious. One side hell bent on convincing me that this is impossible, “there’s no way I can do this” and if I do it definitely won’t be any good. And the other like a person with ADD high on coke; spitting out a thousand ideas but not coming down to focus in on one.
The list of topics/project ideas based on content and things I’m interested in has grown by the hour. My most concrete idea is to do a project investigating how new media platforms like Instagram and Facebook and the rise of the amateur photographer have effected art photography and people who make their living taking photographs. Similar to this idea (because I want to be a TV writer) I would be intrigued to investigate theories about the future of TV. Today we have so many platforms and too many shows to consume in one lifetime. Is there a TV bubble and if there is how and when will it pop? I have a few more vague ideas: 1. How the TV show Supernatural deals with/treats religion/mythology 2. Exploring the process of adaptation through a look at different mediums 3. something to do with the phenomenon of cult TV in conjunction with fan-fiction.
When it comes to ideas based on form I have more of a list of things I know I don’t want to do than what I do. I want to avoid a solely research based project if at all possible. I’d like to do something a little more freeform and conversational that strictly academic writing allows. I really like creative writing and besides screenplays I haven’t really done any of that since sophomore year so I’d be interested in visiting other forms of creative writing. With those in mind I think I would like to do some sort of informed weekly column (I watch Sex and the City over the summer so I have an urge to be very Carrie Bradshaw but without the sex and without the city.) Or I’ve always wanted to try to do a video blog.
I know this all seems very all over the place (my brainstorming process usually is). My hope is to maybe do some sort of combination of these ideas and forms for the final project.
As we get closer to the end of the semester, the more intimidated I get by the fact that at the end of the course we are suppose to have a WHOLE/COMPLETE website! This is a very daunting task. Not only do you have to create the actual website but you also have to have relevant content. While we have been working on the latter, I just don’t think that ANY of my artifacts are ready to be published on the internet…
On the prompt there are several questions to to consider when it comes time to publish the site. For example:
1. What kind of reading experience do you want your reader to have?
I want my readers to have a similar experience as they would enjoying an adaptation of their favorite novel. I want them to read the original piece, then the screenplay for the “upcoming film” and then watch the “trailer” for the movie. I want the pieces the be enjoyed on their own but also compared against each other to spark a discussion of what does and doesn’t work on screen.
2. How interactive do you want the site to be?
I want the site to be semi-interactive. I welcome comments but I don’t think that their will be a twitter feed or game or anything more. I want the site to stand on it’s own like a artists exhibition does. I don’t think it will evolve much past the completion of the course.
3. How do you want the site organized?
I want the site to be organized like a example guide? I want it to show the path of creation of an adapted work including all of the drafting steps.
Original piece → Screenplay → Trailer → Final Movie (This obviously won’t be included)
I think the best way to accomplish this is give each work it’s own tab but have links on each page for the previous and next work in the sequence.
4. What type of media do you want to include?
I want lot’s of media included!!! Mostly movies but other forms as well.
Ahhh, this was difficult. There are so many things to take into consideration when writing a screenplay:
- 3 Act-Structure
- Good Dialog
The list goes on. When I sat down to write my re-purposing project all of these things were on my mind which was very overwhelming. All I had was a concept not even a beginning, middle and end. Usually when you have an ending for a screenplay it’s much easier to know what to write. So I had to figure out what kind of journey I wanted my characters to go on. I know I wanted to keep the script less than 15 pages. So from there I had to figure out the 3-Act Structure. What was going to be my Act 1 break, my midpoint, my climax? Things like that.
As those things became clear, I focused on my dialog. Was it realistic? Was it good? Did I drop too many f-bombs? Then finally was my message coming across?
In the end I think I accomplished this but my re-purposing project has evolved and changed a lot since my re-purposing proposal.
At first I was really struggling with this assignment. I felt like I had not written anything worth repurposing so far in my college career. I recently listened to a podcast on the Scriptnotes podcast (the podcast talks about writing movie scripts and other things in the industry; it’s a really great podcast) they talked about this book by Megan McArdle in she says that writers are the worst procrastinators. I think this is very true, at least I know it is for me. Writing is a very personal experience people are literally grading (Judging?) something that you put your own creative energy into. Because of this we tend to self-sabotage so we can later say “Oh. I didn’t try that hard, so it’s ok that I got a B.”
So back to the topic of the blog post I feel like I self-sabotage in a lot of school working–waiting until the last minute so I can lie to myself and say that I would have gotten an A if I had really tried. Upon looking at my portfolio of of written school work I didn’t think anything was that strong.
Finally I settle on a 12 page research paper that I had written the previous semester. It was on the inception of the Walt Disney Company. Everyone love Disney…I could make that into something interesting…But what?
My partner and I thought maybe an article or a series of fictional letters. Finally I settled on the idea of using the information in my research paper to make a short screenplay about Walt Disney himself. I’m really excited about this idea and can’t wait to get started!
1. The TV: This kinda diverges into to subcategories which then diverge into a million sub-subcategories. So the first would be the TV Show itself, which is a form of entertainment. Beyond that you can have different genres of TV shows that appeal to a wide variety of audiences. The show I was watching was Scandal which would probably appeal to women above the age of 20. The second thing is COMMERCIALS. There are a wide variety of these as well that are also trying to attract a specific audience. For example the taxact.com commercial I kept seeing applies only to people who have to do their taxes.
2. The Internet: Emails-personal and business communication, Ctools-a resource for school, Chase.com-banking at my fingertips, the list goes on and on. Again we see advertising here, tailored to our browsing history (Quit reminding me about the beautiful bag that is out of my price rage!!)
3. My Phone: Text messages-personal communication, Snapchat-a very different animal it sends pictures to my friends, let alone a bunch of other apps.
4. Books: there are textbooks and fun books. All of different subjects and genres.
5. Notebooks: have my school notes, to do lists and scribbles.
5. Journal: Personal musings and reflections.
6. Calendar: my list of events for the rest of eternity
I was surprised by the differences and similarities between Andrew Sullivan’s “Why I Blog”, George Orwell’s “Why I Write” and Joan Didion’s “Why I Write”.I think all three writers were a bit self indulgent. Sullivan says that blogs are mean to be short 800 word pieces yet his article is over six pages long. All three authors talked heavily about audience–though there thoughts were different. Sullivan thinks that blogging is meant to a very interactive process with readers. That in order to be a successful blogger you have to hear your readers and make adjustments accordingly. Joan Didion says that, “In many ways writing is the act of… imposing oneself upon other people…” Meaning that you are telling your readers what to think. Orwell thinks the best way to write is to take oneself completely out of your writing in order to tell a story.
Some parts did resonant deeply with me though. At the beginning of Orwell’s piece he talks about knowing from a young age that he should be a writer but suppressing it through out his life. This really resonated with me because I’ve had similar experiences. Going into college I was worried about being secure in my future rather than happy more recently after changing majors I’ve decided that the latter is much better. While reading Didion and Sullivan’s article I did feel as connected to to them. I think this is because while they both talk about why they write neither goes into as much detail as Orwell. They both digress to other topics that I found distracting and while come point were good most just distracted from the point of the piece.