How DCEU and Universal Botched the Shared Universe

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Jul 24, 2017 12:00:14 PM


It's not technically anybody's fault that corporate-sponsored escapism has become a team sport in 2017. It's just what happens when a sub-demographic like the Xillennials (that's the folks in their mid-30s with living memory of the 1980s) were raised by aggressive, cruel marketing campaigns.

Sega against Nintendo. Boys against girls. Kids against their parents.

Now we have a half-dozen movie franchise shared universe vehicles to side with or against. While Marvel's MCU has succeeded up to this point, the Warner Bros. and Universal copycats are dying on the vine.

How'd they botch it...?

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Topics: shared universe

Why Original Fiction is the Shared Universe Counter-Argument

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Jun 7, 2017 12:00:00 PM


Right on cue, David Lynch reappeared. We were neck-deep in adaptations and reboots, and he shouted the death-song of the shared universe, if we could tune our ears to hear that pitch.

Lynch might be arriving back on the scene with his weird Twin Peaks baby cradled in his arms, but now, the baby is grown up, and strong as ever.

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Topics: shared universe, original fiction

The Marketable Allure of a Shared Universe

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: May 31, 2017 12:00:00 PM


Can you imagine if a company only made one thing? What if that one thing was so relevant, they could successfully market and sell it to anybody? That'd be mighty convenient.

That's why Mattell invented He-Man for boys when they couldn't stomach only selling to girls.

But this is not the reality. Many things must be made and companies must instead market those things to specific people. We'll over-simplify this shared universe comparison for a moment and say Superman and Wonder Woman must both be made, if we want to make All The Money.

One more "but," and it is the killer whale of "but's": What if all those specific people were motivated to buy all those many things?

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Topics: shared universe

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Has No Plot

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: May 9, 2017 12:00:00 PM

guardians-2-hero-shot.gifThe biggest movie of the week involves everything I love, including: space, raccoons, flying, jokes, and Fleetwood Mac. The only thing missing from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a plot.

Yeah, okay, but before we get down into it, what’s plot exactly?

Imagine leaving a movie theater. You’re discussing the movie with friends. You know you loved the humor, the action, and, in Guardians 2’s case, the colors. But there’s something missing. There’s something that ought to be there that you can’t place.

That’s the plot. Guardians 2 is a warm-blooded body without a circulatory system, and it feels straight-weird.

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Topics: shared universe

The "LIKE & SUBSCRIBE!" Shared Universe

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Jan 25, 2017 12:00:00 PM

Diffused_States_-_ebook_cover.pngI'm a human, like you. If I'm being generous, I'm a dim light riding meat with feet. The only thing I love more than collective human imagination is my own imagination. If allowed, I'll tell a story that'll convince the world's population that we're pursuing a false vision of the future.

Now, here's the really neat part: this is already part of that story. This story isn't one story, one book, one photo or YouTube video, because a singular thing has edges. Those terminate.

In order to participate in the like and subscribe shared universe of profitable creative content, you must embrace a endlessly-stackable three-act structure.

Confused? You won't be for long.


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Topics: shared universe

Tapping Your Memory for Creativity (Or, Maple Syrup Shared Universe)

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Nov 21, 2016 12:00:00 PM

dr-strange.gifThe action wherein a maple tree is set up to produce syrup is called "tapping." Interconected tubes run together, usually downhill to get a hand from gravity, leading to a collecting tank. Hundreds of gallons of maple sap is required to boil down into maple syrup.

Are you struggling to approach a creative task? Imagine how many trees inside your mind are required to fuel true creativity.

Your brain constitutes an entire experiental shared universe of thought. To achieve a higher creative plane, you need to learn to tap your memory. 

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Topics: storytelling analysis, shared universe

The Guide to Ghost Little's Shared Universe of Novels

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Sep 15, 2016 12:00:00 PM

shared-universe.pngFive separate stories inform the Ghost Little shared universe. The collected story containing them is called The Arc.

The stories were initially just that: stories. During their writing, the stories began to speak to each other. Formerly merely short ideas, the universe expanded.

The idea was not only to give small ideas life in tiny books for easy consumption on the go in a modern life, but to lash those ideas together by a continuous universe. While The Arc's stories sometimes reference one another, they never does so at storytelling's expense. The Arc requires no homework of the reader to fully enjoy.

These five separate stories each occupy a unique written genre, each a unique invitation to readers with personal taste:

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Topics: shared universe

4 Directors' Secret Shared Universe of Films That Probably Exist

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Aug 24, 2016 12:00:00 PM

avatar-divebomb.gifFilm studio press releases talk about shared universes like they're a brilliant new contraption for storytelling. Marvel has created their cinematic universe with ruthless efficient. DC's equivalent has died like Elvis on the toilet. Time will tell if the paramedics arrive soon enough to save them.

Nevertheless, interconnected films have secretly existed for as long as maniacal creative visionaries have existed.

The following directors have either rebuilt human history through their films, or created holistic visions for what will become of the species, all unified by their singular shared universe.

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Topics: shared universe

The Guide to Ghost Little's Independent Free Book Samples

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Aug 23, 2016 12:00:00 PM

electric-earth.jpgGhost Little continues to grow its audience. I could not be more pleased with the most recent developments.

That's why I'm doing an update about Ghost Little's free books.

We'll get to them in a hot second.

First, as part of the discipline, I don't like speaking "to camera," as they say. You aren't meant to directly talk about what you're doing. You're supposed to stay on topic to educate your readers and help them learn why chosing your work is the best solution to their problem. To be clear, I help solve your boredom problem with remarkable writing.

Nevertheless: my website, my books, my rules, I can make an exception. Even The Rock has cheat-days. So, regarding the free books...

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Topics: shared universe, free books

Simple Answers no. 12: Why doesn't Hollywood make original movies anymore?

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Aug 15, 2016 12:00:00 PM

pacific-rim-rodan.gifThis is a recurring segment, with a recently-updated title, "Simple Answers," where I gather the questions I come across on the internet in a given week, and provide a straightforward answer.

This week's question again addresses the summer movie glut. It's all franchises. There are almost no original stories anymore, except maybe the sensational Pacific Rim, which is fast becoming a faded memory.

You may wonder why the movie market has come to rest in this weird, unoriginal landscape. The answer is simple:

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Topics: whiny questions, simple answers, shared universe

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The Ghost Little blog publishes EVERY WEEKDAY. It's sometimes immediately relevant to the books' development process. Other times, it's only thematically-relevant. Thoughts and ideas influence the creative process in ways that you wouldn't initially anticipate. They're all worth detailing and discussing!

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