Between Game of Thrones And Mr. Robot, We Watch A Lot Of Intense TV

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

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

battle-of-the-bastards.gifI had to go into a meditative state following last Sunday's Game of Thrones episode. I needed a come-down after what can best described as a heck-gasm. That's a pretty rough way to end the weekend.

I guess it's just how we roll now. Tragic, greusome, cynical, delusional, and dare I summon a made-up term, "Snyderian?" Everything is horrible. All of it is true. The pendulum swing between the smile-pop curated playlists on Spotify generates upwards of 13 g's as it hurls over to a common Facebook feed, before its return journey to the navel gazing and vacation-envy on Instagram.

Then it's back to HBO Go and Amazon Prime for Game of Thrones and Mr. Robot to tell us we are a hopeless people.

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Topics: storytelling analysis, tv tropes, marketing

Testing The Dan Harmon Story Circle

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

Published: Jun 16, 2016 12:00:00 PM

dan-harmon-story-circle.jpgI've talked about the acting methodology for Ghost Little's universal story structure. It borrows from how Pixar builds its movie plots, with a few modifications. That's how everything clicks at a high altitude for the story. Lower down though, I've implemented something else: the Dan Harmon Story Circle.

Each chapter in each book begins with an outline governed by a story circle. It's worked to great effect, in particular with introductory chapters, which are self-contained stories by design, as well as each book's starting point.

I'm also using this tool to elevate the offer of free books to invite new readers into the story-sphere. 

However, just as I'm working on a modified Pixar story structure, I want to see if there's anywhere Harmon's story circle should be changed.

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Topics: storytelling analysis, how to write

Writer's Block Is A Myth

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

Published: Jun 14, 2016 12:00:00 PM

IMG_20160612_111700.jpgLet's run an exercise.

If you're a functioning adult with a heartbeat (and if you're a functioning kid with a heartbeat, congratulations for getting this far), you can glance to the top of this page and notice a statement regarding writer's block. The suggestion "let's run an exercise" follows.

Writer's block because the writing-action has nothing to do with writing. Statistically speaking, writing is only 49% writing, at most. Nobody in the world is technically a "writer," by the strictest definition.

Writer's block is a myth because

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Topics: storytelling analysis, how to write

Joss Whedon Only Wants To Save The World, He Doesn't Want To Change It

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

Published: Jun 2, 2016 12:00:00 PM

black-widow-snl.pngDoes our damage define us? If so, then women are wriggling balls of nerves and erupting neuroses, according to Joss Whedon.

It's rightfully recognized that Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, and director of two Avengers movies, is an active feminist. He talks about giving strong women visible roles in his worlds. He built an entire vampire-slaying show about a young lady. It's right there in the title! These shows drill further into the female characters than any other in recent pop-culture, combining shit that boys like—action, winged freak-beasts, space cowboys, sex—with women in layered, leading roles.

That's progress!

Somehow—that's progress. It's sickening that hundreds of years in western history have passed since Shakespeare (or you can argue as far back as Chaucer's The Knight's Tale), made humans with lady-bits thinking, feeling, talking, and scheming individuals worthy of crafted drama. It's progress that we can point to a character like Inara on Firefly and say, "that character is feminine, and wasn't instructed to trip over her ovaries getting out of bed for a laugh."

Yes, bothering to give the female character's dialog and back-story a punch-up, unfortunately, is progress. That's progress. And that's sad.

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Topics: storytelling analysis, shared universe

Why Do People Like Breaking Bad So Much?

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

Published: Sep 23, 2013 12:00:00 PM


The above is the first comment on a recap of Breaking Bad's penultimate episode.

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Topics: storytelling analysis, tv tropes

Star Trek Into Darkness Stupid Plot Holes Explained

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

Published: May 22, 2013 12:00:00 PM


Everybody on the roller-coaster, put your hands up! That's a direct order from Commander Fun! There are jerks out there that probably went to undergrad at UCLA that are being quoted in ads for Star Trek Into Darkness for using words like, "whiz-bang!" or "fun!" or "adventure!" or "rip-snorting!" in their film reviews. We would be so blessed to have rip-snorting added into any sentence, especially one about Star Trek Into Darkness.

The movie isn't bad. It is entertaining, but if it were rip-snorting, that would actually mean there was a possibility of people getting dirty or facing some consequence. This movie, this $99.99 add-on protective casing for your iPad that your dad got you, believes that it has form, function, and maybe even some brains under that fantastic dye-job.

The trouble is that Star Trek Into Darkness is trying to serve wine to young people when it should just serve cheese to people that like cheese. Lots of people like cheese! It's on almost every kind of sandwich imaginable. It's awesome. If I had to give up cheese or chocolate for the rest of my life, I'd give up chocolate. While trying to serve that many tastes, Star Trek Into Darkness' helmsmen had to sacrifice logic in the name of, well, creating a living homage to The Wrath of Khan. That's when the plot holes start cracking open.

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Topics: Review, storytelling analysis, Movie Review

Why "Man Of Steel" And "The Great Gatsby" Are The Two Vital Versions Of America

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

Published: May 1, 2013 12:00:00 PM


"What if a child dreamed of becoming something other than what society had intended? What if a child aspired to something greater?"

Truth, justice, and the American way. Strangely enough, I learned a lot about Superman from my mom, who in turn had learned it through osmosis from her brothers when she was young. Back when comic books were books, and not recognizable intellectual properties ripe for mass-marketing, they represented a kind of simple math that a kid could understand. Superman was the simplest, so much so that most people, young people especially, are untucking their shirts and sneezing directly at the idea of Man of Steel coming out in June, because while The Dark Knight Rises was a French revolution allegory, what in the blue fucking hell could boring-ass Man of Steel possibly bring to the modern discussion? These days, we have Batman, and Wolverine, and The Avengers, and Robert Downey Jr, who is a genre unto himself. Superman's a boyscout. Punch the Commies, save the cat in the tree, last son of Krypton, Moses-allegory, defend the defenseless so they can live in peace, and on and until the day is done. Superman was conceived in 1933 in a time before the term "nuclear family" had been added to the American lexicon, nevertheless, he was the hope, the aspiration that even though we aren't invincible like he is, America, and all its promises, won't burn out if we stick together and keep driving forward.

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Topics: Review, storytelling analysis, Movie Review, marketing, shared universe

Bioshock Infinite's Ending Explained

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

Published: Apr 3, 2013 12:00:00 PM


Are you wondering just exactly how all those bits and pieces of Bioshock Infinite fit together? Wonder no more! I only found it complicated at first because it's a little contrived, with some odd character motivations at first glance. A game that requires examination is art. It looks nice and it makes you think. Anyway, without further delay, let's dig into what a floating city in the sky and a girl with some quantum physics books have to do with the Battle of Wounded Knee and alternate versions of reality.

++ SPOILERS!! ++ This is what Bioshock Infinite's ending means. ++ SPOILERS!! ++

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Topics: Review, Game Review, storytelling analysis, PS3 Review

Prometheus Suggests That Life Itself Is A Biological Weapon

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

Published: Jun 20, 2012 12:00:00 PM


Any sci-fi fans that saw Prometheus and disliked it have plenty to complain about—they also have plenty of things to discuss too.

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Topics: storytelling analysis, Movie Review

The Dark Knight Rises Is Les Misérables In Reverse

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

Published: Jun 6, 2012 12:00:00 PM


Take a look at the above image. It's a banner poster for The Dark Knight Rises. It speaks volumes about what this movie is going to be about, and while we can only speculate at this point, it's becoming clearer that director Chris Nolan is approaching the Batman mythos, and the superhero movie in general, through critical lens. Superheroes are destructive psychos that cause trouble and confuse the masses more than inspire them. Stranger still, they are difficult to interpret when they start showing up on the wrong side of a social revolution.

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Topics: storytelling analysis, Movie Review

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