Thursday, December 14, 2017

Make sure that your story has a good ending.

Even though I have had problems watching tv lately, last week I managed to watch a new episode of The Big Bang Theory. I watched the episode, because I wanted to give the show a chance and see if it was even remotely watchable nowadays.

After all, over the last few seasons, this popular sitcom about our four nerds hasn't really been that watchable. It hasn't been well written and its storylines and characters have been mostly hopelessly stale and uninspired.   

So based on these things, I didn't exactly have my hopes up when I started watching episode S11E09, 'The Bitcoin Entanglement'. I didn't think that the show could work anymore and that it could even produce random quality episodes.

Nevertheless, as I started watching the episode, it didn't look that bad right away. It seemed as if the episode might actually work and that it would remind us of the good old days when the show was still funny and fresh.

After all, this episode - that dealt with our guys mining some Bitcoins - was about these characters going back in time. The characters were back to their 'normal' selves and were even back to wearing their old clothes.

In the episode, the main storyline was about our nerds trying to remember what they had done with their precious bitcoins. They tried to figure out where they had hidden their laptop that had the keys to their bitcoin wallet.

The only one who could more or less remember what had happened was of course Sheldon with his eidetic memory. He was the one who was able to remember important details about the case and how things actually were.

The main storyline, at least the premise for it, for once felt plausible and revolved around the nerd stuff. It was refreshing to see a storyline that was something else than the usual tired relationship nonsense that had zero energy or creativity.

The episode also felt fairly watchable, because the jokes in most cases were character driven and felt like they were organic and natural. It felt like the writers were inspired and were actually doing their jobs this time.

However, there was one thing that didn't work in the 'Bitcoin Entanglement' at all. The ending for the episode didn't work because the resolution for it - rather predictably -  was so disappointing and that it did not make sense.

After all, there was no way that our nerds would actually end up becoming bitcoin millionaires. It was obvious that there had to be some kind of a resolution that would lead to our guys losing their precious 'treasure'.

So not surprisingly, when Sheldon told that he had hidden the bitcoin key to Leonard's USB-stick, and that Leonard revealed that he had lost the Batman stick years ago, we got our weak ending. It was just a weak climax that didn't have a point at all.

Of all the resolutions that the writers could have come up with, the one that they chose was probably the worst. It did not match with the rest of the episode and how much energy and excitement the rest of the story had.   

In that sense, when I think of the resolution for the 'Bitcoin Entanglement', it's clear that even though the episode did have quite a few solid and funny moments, those moments weren't able to make up for the fact that the ending was just incredibly weak.

As a whole, the episode didn't work because it's not possible to write a weak ending to your storyline and expect that your story is going to work. You can't write a quality screenplay unless you make sure that your 'climax' works too.

Even though it's true that you don't always have to come up with a happy ending, you still have to make sure that your ending makes sense and that it can be derived from the rest of the episode and how the characters have behaved.

It simply can't be something that comes out of nowhere and that gets resolved in less than a heartbeat. It can't be something that makes little or no sense and is something that is going to underestimate the intelligence of your audience.

In that sense, it's just too bad that in the case of this TBBT episode, the writers weren't able to come up with a solid ending. It's too bad, because had they done their jobs well, 'The Bitcoin Entanglement' could actually have been a really good episode.

Friday, December 8, 2017

It's important to keep your mind fresh as a writer.

One of the most important things about being a writer is that you're able to be a consistent writer. You need to have the ability to write even when you don't feel like doing that and when you don't think that you can come up with anything good.

After all, as a writer, you don't always have the luxury of choosing when you're going to start writing. You don't always get to choose that precious moment when you're inspired and when you feel like you can get things done.

The reason I'm writing about this is because during the last couple of weeks, I haven't felt like writing that much. I haven't felt that good and have had problems getting myself in the mood to write anything that could be worth reading.

The biggest reason for this lack of focus and lack of concentration in my life has had to do with me not taking enough care of myself. I haven't managed to pay enough attention to everyday basic needs that matter in life.

For example, even though I have managed to exercise on a daily basis, I haven't paid enough attention to my sleeping patterns. I haven't managed to get enough sleep, which has made me less active and less focused than I'm used to being.

What this means is that during the last couple of weeks or so, after I have managed to come back from work, I haven't had that much energy left. I haven't had energy when it comes to writing and thinking about what to do next.

Instead of coming up with solid ideas for this blog or simply having the energy to watch television shows, I have tried to do something else. In most cases, I've gone straight to bed to get some sleep, which hasn't really worked at all.

The bad thing about these afternoon naps is that when I have went to bed to recover from my lack of sleep, I have gotten even more confused and disoriented. Napping has made it even harder to get my head straight and to get anything meaningful done.

After all, it's a known fact that you can't replace sleeping hours during the night with napping hours during the day. In the long run it's not a healthy way and will lead to health problems when it comes to your body and your mind.

So when I have woken up after my nap, unless I had a really good writing routine going on and unless I had a deadline, it was almost impossible to get anything done. It was more or less guaranteed that my day was over when it comes to being creative.

In that sense, when it comes to my well being as a whole, it's clear that I need to change my sleep patterns at least a bit. It's clear that I need to change some of my routines, so that I could feel less tired in my life again.

After all, even though it's true that napping during the afternoons can sometimes be a good thing - like for example when you're writing a screenplay - in the long run it's not the way to go way when you're trying to be at your best.

As a whole, not paying attention to your sleeping patterns and not making sure that you sleep enough is simply going to be detrimental for your health. It won't make you more creative and most certainly won't make you any more productive.

So in that sense, when it comes to my sleeping and resting habits in the future, I have to make sure that I'll find some time to get to my bed at least a bit earlier. I have to make sure that I find a way to change my sleeping habits at least a bit.

After all, there's no point in staying up until 4 am in the morning and not going to bed earlier. There's no point in not getting enough sleep, feeling constantly tired and not having the energy to do all those other things later during the day.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Tv critics can't tell a good show from a bad one.

When it comes to the biggest surprise of this television season, there's no question that 'The Orville' has been a pretty big surprise. It has managed to win over a lot of Star Trek fans, who have been waiting for a solid sci-fi series for so many years.

Even though most of us didn't expect the series to be any good, this Seth Macfarlane show has managed to deliver the goods. It not only has managed to respect the spirit of the original Star Trek shows, but it also has brought something new to the table.

Still, even though pretty much everyone has managed to like the series, professional critics have been the exception. Television critics in general have been the only ones who think that the show isn't worth your time and that it's not worth watching.

According to them, 'The Orville' doesn't work, because it's too optimistic and that it has comedic elements in it. The fact that the series also manages to be sincere and that it gives us hope is something that is just not acceptable to them.

On the other hand, when it comes to a dark, depressing and a badly thought out show like 'Star Trek: Discovery', critics have had no problems liking it. They have praised the show, even though it's pretty obvious that it isn't well made at all.

After all, the biggest reason that this official 'Star Trek' series doesn't work is because it has nothing to do with the original franchise. It manages to disrespect the vision and the values of the original Star Trek shows that people loved watching.

Instead of being a series that promotes intellectualism, curiosity and pacifism, the new Star Trek promotes stupidity, war and bellicosity. It portrays a world where there is no hope for mankind and where it doesn't have a future.

Not surprisingly, most Trekkies who gave the show a chance didn't like it at all. They couldn't stomach watching it and have been complaining how little the show has to do with the values and the idealism of the original shows.

Still, why did critics in general think that 'The Orville' wasn't a good show and that it wasn't worth watching? Why did they think that a bleak and a depressing show like 'Star Trek: Discovery' would actually be worth your time instead?

As far as I'm concerned, perhaps that is because they have been bought and paid for by the entertainment industry. Perhaps they are so corrupt that they're willing to promote awful television shows simply in order to make a quick buck.

Or perhaps that's because they're trying to appear 'hip and cool' by promoting a show that looks 'dark and serious'. Perhaps they're really that out of touch with reality and how the common people think about quality entertainment.

In the end, regardless of what the truth is here, it's safe to say that they got things completely wrong here. It's safe to say that by promoting 'Star Trek: Discovery', the critics bet on the wrong horse and are being ridiculed for all the right reasons.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Sexual harassment and tribalism in America.

Over the last few weeks there have been an incredible amount of revelations about sexual harassment cases in the U.S. Ever since it became known that producer Harvey Weinstein had a long history of being a sexual abuser, things haven't been the same.

After all, it didn't take long before other big names were outed too. Celebrities like Kevin Spacey, Louis Ck, Charlie Rose, John Lasseter, Al Franken, Brett Ratner and Roy Moore among others were also revealed to be sexual abusers.

In most of these cases, being outed as a sexual harasser meant that your career came to an instant end. In most cases it didn't take more than 24 hours before the public outcry became so strong that your career was finished.

Yet, there have been two major exceptions so far in these cases. Of all the accused, Al Franken, a democratic senator from Minnesota and Roy Moore, a republican senatorial candidate from Alabama, have not paid the price for their deeds yet. 

When it comes to Al Franken (in picture), we're talking about four female victims. So far he's been accused of three counts of sexual assault (forced french kissing, butt groping) and one count of sexual harassment (following a female victim to a bathroom)

In Roy Moore's case, the public accusations are more serious. Among other things, Moore is accused of trying to have sex with a 14-year old girl, attempting to rape a 16-year old and for preying on minors on multiple occasions.

In any even remotely functional society these kind of accusations would mean that your political career would be over. In any normal society these accusations would mean that you would either resign or that you would drop out of your senate race.

However, since we're talking about politics and The United States of America, things don't work that way. The tribalism in politics is so strong that as long you're batting for the right team, it doesn't matter what you've done.

What this means in reality is that in Franken's case, democratic loyalists are convinced that Franken has done nothing wrong. They are convinced that the women who accuse him are liars and that they cannot be trusted at all.

Corporate democrats and Hillary-loyalists are taking it so far that they even claim that it might be Russia that's behind the whole thing. It's Vladimir Putin (!) who's behind these outrageous accusations against Franken.

In Roy Moore's case, it doesn't seem to matter to evangelical voters that he's accused of pedophilia and that he's a serial child molester. It doesn't matter that there are at least a dozen witnesses against him and that they all seem to be credible.

After all, 'a man of God' like him would never do things like these. There's no way that an honorable judge like Moore would do anything like that, so all the witnesses and the evidence against him has to be false and made up.

This kind of tribalism is so extreme that it isn't even limited to just Franken and Moore anymore. This kind of insane party worship also extends to former president Bill Clinton and to current president Donald Trump. 

After all, even though there are dozens of accusations against president Clinton, they don't really count. 'Mr. Lolita express' is a good man and those things with Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick and Monica Lewinsky never happened.

In the same way, it doesn't matter what Trump has been accused of doing either. Those 'grab 'em by the pussy' tapes were only locker room talk and those other 14 sexual harassment cases against him don't amount to anything either.

So in that sense, when it comes to these sexual harassment cases, things could certainly be a lot better. Things could be better, even though it's a good thing that women are finally coming forward and that in some cases they're being taken seriously.

In the end, the truth is that especially when it comes to accusations against high-profile politicians, their victims unfortunately aren't being taken seriously enough. Both tribalism and party loyalty run so rampant that no amount of evidence seems to be enough.

As a whole, that's really unfortunate, because this kind of behavior is simply unacceptable for the nation. It's unacceptable, which is why it's so important to get rid of these politicians who are guilty of sexual abuse and harassment.

In that sense, I just wish that at some point people would stop playing politics when it comes to sexual abuse. I just wish that people would stop putting party over the people and that they would do the right thing.

After all, if they did that, things could get at least a bit better for sexual abuse victims. Things would get better and it would show everyone that nobody is above the law and immune from the consequences of one's actions.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Good story is the most important part of a film.

When it comes to making a quality movie, the most important ingredient in the process is the screenplay. There's nothing more important in the production of a movie than having a good story that you can build your film on.

After all, if your story isn't good enough, no amount of money is going to save your movie. If your story sucks, it doesn't matter who is going to direct the film, or who are the actors and the actresses that are going to be in it.

So whenever I read that the biggest reason that a movie sucked wasn't because of its story, in most cases I can only roll my eyes. In most cases, the person who is talking about the film has no clue what he or she is talking about. 

To give you an example, a couple of days ago I finally had the chance to watch the film 'Wonder Woman' with my friend. We managed to watch this DC comics superhero movie after having postponed seeing it for quite some time.

When it comes to our opinion of the film, I think we both ended up liking it quite a bit. We liked almost every aspect of the movie, including the beautiful Gal Gadot, who managed to play the 'Wonder Woman' character pretty well. 

The only obvious problem with the film had to do with its story. It's pretty safe to say that in the third act of the movie, the villain - no spoilers here - made very little sense, and that the motivation for the character was weak and convoluted to say the least.

Nevertheless, when I kept reading negative reviews for the movie, it was hard to find instances where the main complaint had to do with this aspect of the film. It was hard to find complaints about the story or the villain character.

In most cases, those negative reviews had to do with all those other things instead. Almost every aspect except the story was mentioned, like for example Gal Gadot supposedly not being good enough for the role of Wonder Woman.

There were other complaints too that didn't have anything to do with the story. Things like how there weren't enough jokes, that the director was a woman, that the germans shouldn't have been the villains or that the action scenes weren't creative enough.

When it comes to these supposed problems, I'm obviously not saying that the reviewers were absolutely wrong about their views. I'm not saying that there weren't any problems with the movie and that you're not allowed to criticize it in any way.

After all, there were certain moments and scenes in the film that could have been better. Certain scenes went on for too long and perhaps those action scenes actually could have been more 'inspired' than what we saw on the screen.

At the same time, if none of those story and screenplay issues made your top five complaints list, you're not making much sense. It's really hard to take you seriously if you don't have any issues with those aspects of the film.

That's because in the end, it's still the story that counts more than anything else in movies. It's the premise, the characters and the storylines that count more than those other things when it comes to deciding whether the film has any value or not.

As a whole, even though it's true that special effects and action scenes sometimes do matter, they aren't the most important part of the film. These aspects in most cases do not decide whether watching the movie is going to be an enjoyable experience or not.

In reality, the truth is that quality films will always be more than anything about the story. The most important thing about a good movie is always going to be that the screenplay for the film works as well as possible.

In that sense, if you're not paying enough attention to storytelling in a movie, you're not getting it right. If you're not paying attention to story aspects that matter and that define the value of a film, you're not getting what movies are supposed to be about.

Friday, November 10, 2017

What to do next with my movie screenplay?

As I wrote earlier here, this is the year that I finally managed to write my first movie screenplay. I managed to write it this summer when I felt that I absolutely needed to give myself a chance to see if I had it in me as a writer.

The script, called 'Valerie and The Girl', is about a young girl who doesn't have a father in her life. The screenplay is written as a stop motion animation and it doesn't currently have any intelligible dialogue in it.

The reason that I'm bringing this up now is because a couple of days ago I finally got feedback from the script. One of my friends had managed to read it and was kind enough to give his opinion about how good or bad it had turned out to be.

Getting feedback from the script was really important to me, because in all honesty, I had almost forgotten that I had written the script this summer. I had been so busy at work that I hadn't had that much time to think or worry about it.

After all, once I had finished writing 'Valerie and The Girl' in late July, I didn't give it another look for almost three months. I didn't read it, because I didn't have to actively pay attention to the characters and the storylines anymore.

Nevertheless, when it comes to the script, he liked how the screenplay was written and how clear the storylines were. He liked how I had managed to keep the storylines as simple as possible without making them look too simple.

When it comes to the characters, he liked how I had managed to make them relatable and likable. I managed to make them likable and had given them personalities and characteristics that made them feel worth caring about.

He also liked how I had managed to make the script funny in a natural way. The comedic moments in the script worked so well, because I was able to make good reads and knew where I was supposed to lighten up the mood.

When it comes to things that didn't work, he didn't actually have any clear complaints about the script. He didn't notice any moments where it was too obvious that I could have done a better job with how the story played out.

Not surprisingly, I was pretty happy about this, because even though I did have confidence in the script, I wasn't confident about every single aspect of it. I had certain doubts about some parts of the screenplay that made me hesitate a bit.

For example, when I had read the script right before he gave me his feedback, I had some problems getting in the mood at first. The lack of intelligible dialogue in the script meant that I had to pay attention to the story and feel it right away.

Fortunately, his comments made me feel better and made me think that even if there's some things that might need some polishing, it's still a solid screenplay. I had done a good job writing it and I should be proud of myself.

So as a whole, when it comes to the next step that I'm supposed to be taking with the screenplay, I guess I'm supposed to get those in charge to read it. I should find people that could consider my script and perhaps even get it produced.

After all, if produced, 'Valerie and The Girl' would likely turn out to be a solid animated film. It would likely turn out to be a good movie that would have the ability to keep the audience entertained and would make them happy.

In the end, the only really big problem here is that I don't have that many contacts in the entertainment business. I don't have connections outside my country that would help me in getting the script get the exposure that it deserves.

As unfortunate as it is, even though we do produce and film movies in my country, we don't make movies that require stop motion technique. We don't produce animated movies that would require ten to fifteen million dollar budgets.

In that sense, we can only hope that at some point something good would happen with this project. We can only hope that at some point someone in charge would say that this story has merit, that it makes sense and that it's actually worth filming.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

What to think of the released JFK documents?

Over the last few days there has been a lot of talk in the media about the assassination of president John F. Kennedy. All over the world the media has been talking about the 'new information' pertaining to his murder that occurred almost fifty-four years ago.

This new information - that consists of freshly released documents - supposedly proves that Lee Harvey Oswald murdered the 35th president of the United States. There was no conspiracy behind the assassination and that it was simply a random act of violence.

The problem with this 'conclusion' by the media is that there's nothing in these declassified documents that would indicate that Oswald killed Kennedy. Nothing in these 'new' documents manages to even slightly point at Oswald's guilt.

For example, in these documents there's nonsense like Russians reacting to the possibility of Oswald being the assassin. The Russians, *gasp*, thought that Oswald must have been crazy *if* he assassinated the president.

There is stuff about how Jack Ruby - the assassin of Oswald - denied that there was a conspiracy in killing the alleged assassin. Ruby was adamant that he was not assisted by the Dallas police department officers in his deed.

There is also stuff that includes former director of the CIA Richard Helms testifying that Oswald was not working for the company. There was no chance that the alleged assasin had been on a CIA payroll at any point in his life.

In reality, not only are most of these 'revelations' decades old, but they don't really contain anything new. There's nothing new about important aspects that have to do with the case, like the eyewitness testimonies, the autopsy or the medical evidence.

Perhaps that is why the media was actually so happy to sing their usual 'Oswald did it song'. Since there was nothing incriminating here, they were boasting how this was the final nail in the coffin and that the 'conspiracy theorists' should give up.

In reality, unlike what the media is trying to say, the research community isn't actually looking for any 'smoking gun'. They aren't looking for that missing piece of evidence that would show us that there was a conspiracy to kill JFK.

In fact, every serious non-CIA backed researcher already agrees and knows that president John F. Kennedy died as a result of a conspiracy. Every serious student who has looked at the evidence knows that there was more than one gunman involved.

We know that the assassination was a conspirary because of the evidence that is available. We have the eyewitness testimonies, the autopsy report, the Zapruder film and the shooting reconstructions that prove that Oswald couldn't have been the lone assassin.

In fact, when it comes to these 'final nail in the coffin' claims, one of the most important moments already happened 25 years ago. This is when the Assassination Records Review Board declassified the eyewitness testimonies of JFK's autospy.

This is when it was revealed that for almost three decades we had been lied to. All the doctors and the nurses present agreed that unlike what we had been told, there was a big hole in the back of JFK's head and that the fatal bullet had come from the front.

This meant that Oswald couldn't have been the lone assassin because he couldn't have been at two places at the same time. He couldn't have been shooting from the 6th floor of the book depository and also from the grassy knoll at the same time.

So in that sense, whenever you hear the media talking about how there has been no 'smoking gun' in the case and that the 'conspiracy theorists' should give up, they are wrong. They couldn't be more wrong about their proclamations.

After all, just because they again paraded their usual 'experts' - CIA stooges like Gerald Posner, Max Holland etc. - that doesn't mean that they were telling the truth. That doesn't mean that they were giving us accurate information about what happened.

Just because they tried to obfuscate and tried to make us not believe our lying eyes, that doesn't mean that we should believe them. It doesn't mean that we should believe their lies and think that we shouldn't question the official story.

In the end, even though it's not fun to accept the idea that president Kennedy died as a result of a conspiracy, that is actually what happened. That is what happened and everyone who's willing to look past the lies should be able to see that.

As unfortunate as it is, the truth is that the media and the government have, for the last 50+ years, been part of the cover up. They have been doing everything in their power to make sure that we wouldn't get to know what happened.

In that sense, when they keep telling us that we shouldn't question the official story, we should protest. We should protest and let them know that despite their claims, we know that they're lying and that president Kennedy did die as a result of a conspiracy.