Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Some reasons why one becomes a writer.

So what are the reasons why someone should think of becoming a writer? I'm trying to post here some of the reasons that - at least in my opinion - made me become a writer. I hope that these are somewhat good reasons to become a scribe:

1) There's a good chance that you're better than most writers.

This is one of the best reasons that one should become a writer. It's not a secret that most - even working - writers are not that good. So if you're much, much better than your average professional, you probably should think of becoming a writer yourself.

Notice however that this is only a 'reason' to become a writer. It's another thing to get motivated and to have a compelling need to start writing, which usually takes a bit more effort and luck. Not surprisingly, I myself didn't start writing right away.

2) Even your hero writers are going to retire / pass away some day.

This is one of the things that you shouldn't forget. As far as I know, even my personal hero David Kelley isn't going to live forever. One day he is going to retire and then someone else needs to step up to the plate and deliver the goods.

In my case I believed pretty strongly that there weren't that many guys on the planet who were capable of replacing him and that I was probably one of them. So I had an even bigger reason to start writing and stop postponing.

3) "At some point you'll go crazy if you don't start writing".

I don't know about you, but at least in my case, depression, anxiety and panic attacks pretty much forced me to start writing. I had to give it a chance, otherwise I would have gone totally crazy. I had no choice but to write.

Although, to be honest, it did help a lot that I was being encouraged by others who told me that I should try writing  It really helps when people believe in you and actually care. I'm grateful that I wasn't completely alone.

4) Finishing a screenplay / book / blog post etc. makes you feel good.

There's a reason why mental health professionals recommend that people with psychological issues should write stuff (like for example keep a diary). Writing really helps and gives us a chance to connect with our inner child.

As far as I know, finishing a script gives you one of the best feelings there is. It makes you feel that you have created something genuine and real. It gives you a sense of eternity that no amount of money can buy.

5) There's a chance that you can make others happy too.

I'm not saying that writing stuff doesn't have anything to do with trying to make a living. At the same time, it's not all about the money or being competitive or trying to win awards. Those shouldn't be the sole reasons why one wants to become a writer.

At least when it comes to me, writing is about trying to make sense out of the chaos that is around us. It's about trying to connect with others and giving them hope, that we're in this together and that things are going to be okay.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Roger Moore is my kind of James Bond.

As usual, James Bond movies have been playing here in my country the last few weeks. They keep showing all the films every few years on one of our television channels. I never seem to get bored watching the old Bond movies that actually managed to be pretty good.

Nevertheless, everyone seems to have an opinion on who is the best Bond. In my case I have to say that Roger Moore happens to be my favorite Bond, even though I have nothing particular against any of the actors that have played 007.

There are a number of reasons why I prefer Moore's Bond over the others. Most importantly, I think that Sir Roger is the best 007, because at least in my opinion his Bond is the most well rounded person. He's the whole package, as they say.

The problem with the other Bonds is that I think they are too serious, at least for my tastes. By that I mean that Roger's James Bond was able to be serious when it was required, but unlike those other Bonds, he was capable of being genuinely funny and humorous too.

In fact, Roger had the ability to be downright silly when it was needed - which is why many Bond 'purists' can't stand him at all. They say that James Bond is supposed to be a cold blooded killer who drinks Vodka Martinis and beds women.

They say the Moore made the character a joke for being too 'campy'. Supposedly no one could take the character and the series seriously after Moore was so absurd and comical. For them the only real James Bond is always going to be the 'Ian Fleming'-type.

I myself can't see being humorous as a negative thing. What's really the point in being serious when it's not that necessary? If you can be both serious and funny at the same time, where's the problem in that? It's not like there's too much laughter in the world anyway.

Besides, it's not like it's that easy to be charming and funny. If you want to be a humorous action star, you need to have a talent for that. After all, it's much, much easier to be dramatic and dead-serious than it's to be light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek.

I mean, for example, could anyone really imagine any other Bond pulling off what Moore did in the movie Octopussy? In one of the most absurd, yet dramatic scenes of the whole series, Bond goes to a circus dressed as a clown to defuse a small atomic bomb.

Despite what some others might claim, that whole sequence leading up to the climax was really well made. I think it's one of those moments in cinema's history that won't get the credit that it likely deserves. It was full of entertainment and real suspense.

In any case, Roger Moore's era as James Bond is the one when the producers of the series probably tried their hardest. That is when the series took its biggest risks artistically and in most cases those risks paid off rather well in my opinion.

This is not to say that every Roger Bond movie was that good. But I think it's rather safe to say that 'The Spy Who Loved Me' and 'For Your Eyes Only' are likely the best movies in the series. They had the best combination of drama and comedy.

All in all, Roger Moore's 007 movies remind me of the times when just about anything was possible and not everything had to be taken that seriously. That was the Golden Age of movies and in my opinion the golden age of James Bond films too.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Being Creative is About Making Sense.

One of the things that has kinda bothered me over the years is when certain people say that this and that writer is supposedly so awesomely creative. They think these writers are so prolific compared to those other writers in the business.

This kind of thinking is rather common with television shows that have rabid fan bases. The fans of these shows - and the media too - are convinced that these certain guys are awesome and that others don't come close when it comes to being genuinely creative.

The problem I have had with this all is that too many times that I have heard these certain people being praised, at least in my opinion they haven't really earned that praise. Their so called creations haven't honestly been that good.

There are numerous examples of this; like for example from Joss Whedon (Firefly) to Dan Harmon (Community), from Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies) to guys like Michael Schur (Brooklyn Nine-Nine). These are the people that fans tend to rave about.

But why all that praise? Why do so many people think that these guys who have pretty shaky track records - or even really bad ones - are supposedly so creative, and conversely those others who have been successful and won the biggest awards are not.

Let's not forget that there are actually people who have been both genuinely creative and successful - and pretty much nobody is singing praises for them. For some reason they think that these creative people haven't done anything worthwhile.

For example, I have never seen anyone telling us how the creators of 24 are creative geniuses. In my opinion it's obvious that 24, a real-time action show that was originally supposed to be a real-time wedding show, is indeed a genius concept.

But nobody keeps raving about these guys, Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran. They get no praise, as didn't get Everybody Loves Raymond's Phil Rosenthal - a genius - either. I guess it's not cool to praise a concept and a show that actually works and isn't completely flawed.

In my opinion in many ways it comes to this. As weird as it sounds, too many people think that you're being creative when you produce shows that don't really work. They think that you're being 'ambitious', so it's not really your fault that you failed.

If the show gets cancelled after its first season, it's the network that you can blame. If the show didn't get even decent ratings, you can always blame the audience. Your creative guy was just being misunderstood, or even yet, 'ahead of his time'.

In reality though, being creative means that you create stuff that makes sense. If it works, you're by definition a creative person. There's not much more that you can do than to make your concept work and reach its potential.

On the other hand, if the show doesn't work and if the concept doesn't have enough potential, you aren't really doing things right. After all, you are only trying to be creative - which is not the same thing as actually being creative.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Problems With Silicon Valley's 'Delete' Episode.

I'm fairly confident in saying that the most consistent and the most solid comedy series this year has been HBO's Silicon Valley. In my opinion its second season has been much better than its somewhat shaky and inconsistent first season. 

So I had pretty much enjoyed every episode that had aired this season. Therefore it was really unfortunate that last Sunday we got to see S2E08 "White Hat - Black Hat". This was an episode that probably should have never aired. It was really that flawed.

For starters, even the first and the least significant storyline - that cigarette smoking plot didn't feel right or plausible. I don't really understand what they were trying to achieve with it.  Nobody really cares if you smoke, like seriously.

But it got worse when Pied Piper's crucial representation was about to happen. Richard decided to talk to the only guy who could screw things up for his company. He decided to talk to a system administrator (hacker) who was fired because of them.

This whole thing did not make much sense. But I thought that perhaps Richard wanted to be a decent person. By that I mean that maybe he would get the guy to work for Pied Piper - or something - and that this is how the storyline would eventually be resolved. 

Unfortunately this is not how it played out. Instead we got a 'complication' where the admin guy vowed that he would make Pied Piper pay. He would hack into their system and make sure that their representation wouldn't go well.  

So I thought this story thread would still be resolved in a way that would make the audience sigh in relief. But as it happened, that's not what eventually occurred. Richard met the guy again and made him even more angry. This was just depressing to watch.

The problem here is that it was completely obvious that the story was driving the characters and not the other way around. There's just no way that Richard would be that dumb, even though he's supposed to be somewhat inept socially.

However, that still was not the worst part about the episode. The thing that got people (the audience) really mad was the moment when despite Gilfoyle's assurances that their system was hacker proof, stuff started to disappear from their screens.

What made it so unforgivably bad was the explanation for this 'climax'. Pied Piper's and their client company's server data was being erased - but this all happened because their billionaire financier misplaced his bottle of scotch so that it hit the delete button. 

Absolutely nobody thought that was plausible even in the slightest. That's simply not how it works.  I couldn't believe my eyes. It was so disappointing to watch a show that has most of the time been relatively plausible to let us down that way.

I mean, it's as if the writers in charge weren't really thinking at all. They decided that since - in their opinion - they needed another setback for our nerds, it wouldn't matter what they would come up with here. But that was just too implausible, way too implausible.

In any case, I genuinely hope that this boo-boo was a one time thing and that they won't screw up as badly again. After all, as a whole Silicon Valley has perhaps been the best comedy (or dramedy) series this season. We can only hope that things will get better again.