Thursday, August 25, 2016

What's wrong with those superhero movies?

One of the things that has bothered me lately is the lack of quality films when it comes to comic book movies. Many of the anticipated films have turned out to be less than stellar when they have been finally released. 

For example, the latest movie to disappoint is the film 'Suicide Squad', that despite its massive box office earnings didn't really manage to win critical praise. Its rottentomatoes rating, 26% fresh, is one of the worst of the year. 

Another movie that premiered before Suicide Squad, Batman vs. Superman, also turned out to be a critical failure. Even though the caped crusader was a big hit at the box office, it also managed to gather a disappointing 27% fresh rating from the critics.

Let's not forget that even before these two films premiered, we also had the god awful and completely unnecessary remakes of the Spiderman movies. These two films were pretty big artistical failures and were produced for no real reason at all. 

Now don't get me wrong, I haven't managed to see any of these new comic book movies yet. I haven't watched them, because at least in these cases I've been smart enough to trust the opinions of the film critics. 

In my view, it shouldn't really come as a surprise that these new super hero films aren't well made or to be more precise, well written. It's fairly evident that not enough effort or writing talent is invested in these franchises. 

In general, the biggest problem with the comic book films is with the screenplays and how they're written. It simply isn't possible to produce 1-2 quality super hero movies every year, when you consider that there aren't enough talented writers out there.

Let's keep in mind that in this current environment, it's very difficult to even make these movies compelling. Especially when you consider that studios won't allow any of their 'profitable' characters die, any writer is going to be in a tough spot. 

I mean, storywise there simply isn't enough drama, substance or entertainment in these movies. Since nothing of real consequence is going to happen to any of these characters, there aren't any real stakes in these films.

In any case, even though it's obvious that studios and their greedy bosses have gotten us into this current situation, it's not only their fault. It isn't fair to blame only these head honchos that superhero movies haven't been good lately.

At least in my opinion, some blame also has to be placed on those paying customers in the audience. Since they are willing pony up the dough no matter what, it's no wonder that studios keep producing 6-7 super hero movies every year.

In the end, none of this changes the fact that it's still very difficult to make good movies about these comic book characters. None of us should think that it's easy to make these superhero films entertaining and enjoyable.

In reality, when it comes to making movies, it's always going to take certain amount of luck before things are going to work. Every single thing simply cannot be controlled and you need to get lucky in the process too.

At the same time, the truth is that as long as the studios are not able to hire the very best writers out there, and are not willing to let them do what they want with these characters, things are not going to get any better.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

How to deal with your shyness as a writer?

One of the things that most of the talented writers don't want to talk about that much is how vulnerable and how shy they are. It's not fun to talk about how fragile you are as a person and that you're not always in charge of yourself.

In reality, no matter how fearless your favorite writer might be, there's a pretty good chance that they're actually really shy. Being shy and sensitive is what gives them the edge over the rest of us mortal writers. 

In any case, here are five important things that you should keep in mind if you happen to be shy as a person. These are the things that at least in my opinion will help you and will make your life at least a little bit better:

1) Try to appreciate your strengths.

Even though it's understandable that you're sometimes going to stress about your shyness, worrying about it too much isn't good or healthy either. You shouldn't think too much about the 'restrictions' that come with being a sensitive person.

Instead, try to pay more attention to your strengths than to your weaknesses. Try pay attention to the fact that you're someone who understands how the world works and who knows what makes us human beings tick.

Try to find comfort in the fact that you're better at observing things than the average person and that you're able to figure out many of those precious little things that matter. These are the qualities that should define you as a person and as a writer.

2) Keep yourself busy as a writer.

Very likely the best thing that you can ever do as a writer is to keep yourself immersed in what you're doing. When you have ongoing projects or steady writing routines, you might forget that you have your 'limititations'.

As long as you'll keep yourself busy with your writing habits and routines, pretty quickly you'll manage to notice certain changes. These new routines will make you more confident and will make you feel better about yourself as a writer.

Speaking from my own experience, it genuinely helps when you write articles on a blog on a weekly basis. When you manage to press the publish button more than two hundred times, it's bound to make you at least a little bit less shy.

3) Have a support group that lets you write.

It's always a good thing if you have the chance and the time to concentrate on writing and that you don't have to worry too much about other things. It's an ideal situation if you don't have to do things that you're not good at.

The very best television writers use almost all of their energy and concentration on writing scripts. Their only job is to write quality material because they have an advantage over the rest of the field out there.

For example, South Park's Trey Parker is known for being a very shy person. He's not known for being good at arguing with the suits or with handling confrontations, so he leaves those aspects of the show business for others (Matt Stone) to handle.

4) Take care of yourself and your health.

Many of the shy and sensitive people in show business abuse drugs and don't take enough care of themselves. They have problems but don't try to fix their issues the right way and instead end up trying some bad things.

If you need help with your problems, it's better to get professional help instead of using illegal drugs to alleviate your symptoms. It's much better to be in therapy and take SSRI:s than it's to treat problems with alcohol, coke, or marijuana.

In my case, I try to do moderate to heavy one hour exercises at least five times a week. I also try to eat relatively healthy stuff, I try to sleep well and I take a small dose of an antidepressant to keep my mind as balanced as it can be.

5) Don't give up too easily. 

Finally, setbacks and failures are especially difficult and painful for shy people to handle. It's not fun when things don't go your way, even though you tried your best and actually managed to take (yikes) chances.

Yet, as far as I'm concerned, you shouldn't give up too easily as a writer. You should keep going, because there's really not that much quality stuff out there and because most people in the show business simply don't have what it takes to entertain us.

So instead of getting too depressed about what happened, try to keep in mind that you can try your luck in the future too. It's not over and there's a good chance that next time things are going to get better for you.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

You really should be 'making sacrifices' as a writer.

I don't know about you, but at least in my opinion most of the stuff that we see on television isn't really good at all. Most of the so called 'entertainment' that airs on tv deeply disrespects our intelligence as human beings. 

One of the biggest reasons for the lack of quality stuff on television is that writers in Hollywood simply don't try hard enough. They don't really think it's their job to give their all and to push themselves to the edge. 

One of the best - or worst - examples of this kind of behavior comes from a successful writer named Danny Zuker. This person happens to be one of the executive producers and writers on ABC's popular sitcom 'Modern Family'.

As unfortunate as it is, based on his tweet sent on August 1st, he doesn't seem to believe that writers need to try their hardest. He thinks that it's okay to write these half-assed scripts and that you can still be proud of yourself.

As can be seen in the picture above, Zuker attempts to make his joke by saying that just like Trump, he's going to make his 'sacrifice' (wink) too. He's going to faux sacrifice himself by writing a sitcom script that day. 

The problem with this attempt at comedy is that his tweet is a total failure. It's genuinely bad not only because it assumes certainties about Trump, but also because it's completely wrong about how 'easy' it is to write well.

Unlike what Zuker's saying here, writing good stuff really is about making sacrifices in your life. It's genuinely about pushing yourself to the limit and giving your everything when you're trying to write quality material.

Absolutely no one in this world writes good stuff unless they'll take their tasks super seriously. Even the best writers like Trey Parker, David Kelley and Aaron Sorkin need to bring their very best if they want to write something worthwhile.

Yet, for some reason Zuker thinks that writing a script is really 'no biggie' at all. He thinks that you can casually joke about it being a faux sacrifice (haa haa) and think that you're still going to end up smelling like roses.

In the end, this was simply a genuinely horrible tweet from him. There's no way I would have dared to run my mouth like that, especially considering how Modern Family's quality has plummeted over the years.

At least when it comes to me, there's absolutely nothing funny about making jokes about other people's 'sacrifices', especially when you consider that Zuker's own dereliction of duty as a writer couldn't be more obvious.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The importance of having patience as a writer.

Over the years I've learned that one of the most important qualities of being a writer is that you need to have a lot of patience. Whenever you're writing, you can't give up too easily, even though things might not immediately go your way. 

In order to show you why patience is so important, let's look at these examples about the writing process. Whenever you're trying to come up with good stuff, you should consider these important things that are required.

1) You need patience to come up with an idea that is good enough.

It's always a pretty good feeling when you have been lucky enough to come up with a decent idea as a writer. Solid ideas and premises have the most amount of potential to turn into quality scripts, storylines or articles. 

At the same time, there are moments when you don't feel comfortable enough with your idea. Your intuition, gut or whatever tells you that you should think of something else to go with, even though you might be about to start writing. 

In these cases, most of the time it's probably a good idea to step back and think a bit. Even though you might feel impatient and think that coming up with another idea won't be easy, you should likely put your thinking cap on again.  

2) You need patience to spend enough time to get the story right.

Now that you came up with an idea that you think is good enough, you need to get your basics right. This means that you delve into the structure of your story and try to make sure that you are going to write something worthwhile.

This is likely the hardest part of the process and you'll usually spend hours after hours trying to come up with solid ideas. It's crucial that you'll come up with good ideas that make sense and that you know what you're writing about.

At least in my case, I will almost certainly get super frustrated because most of the time I don't get things to work right away. I have to struggle a lot before it feels like I have solved most of the problems with my story / task.

3) You need patience to rewrite over and over again.

Once you have gotten your structure right, you have likely solved at least 80% of your problems. This is the moment that usually gives you the first real sense of having accomplished something and that you're going to make it.

Nevertheless, just because you're not staring at a blank screen anymore, you still need to rewrite and in many cases create new content. This leads to you to adding and removing stuff in the hopes that your script would finally make enough sense as a whole. 

This takes time and effort and you might still notice some fairly obvious problems that need to be fixed. These are problems that you know you can fix as long as you're willing to work hard enough and won't give up.

4) You need patience to not publish what you've written too soon. 

Having now fixed 95% to 99% of the stuff, it's time to take a break from your thoughts. You should always let your brain relax a bit and wait at least a day before you publish or let others see what you've written.

Taking this break will almost certainly help you find certain - likely relatively small - mistakes that need to be fixed and that you hadn't noticed before. These are the last things that you need to take care of before your task is finished.

No matter how difficult taking a break might seem to you, you need to get your thoughts off from writing and do something else for a while. It will almost certainly be the right decision and will make you a better writer in the long run.
5) You also need patience when you're not rewarded immediately.

Finally, once you have managed to complete your precious task, you should be happy that you managed to get the job done. It wasn't easy and you spent so much time trying to give your best and making your story as good as possible.

However, don't get too upset if people don't immediately pat you on the back for your efforts. No matter how smart, talented or insightful you are as a writer, in most cases the world still doesn't revolve around you.

Instead, appreciate the fact that you had the chance to go through the process and that you managed to reach the finish line. At least in my opinion, that's what really counts and what should make us happy as writers.