Storytelling Geekery

IWSG: Twenty Abandoned Drafts

This is an entry for the Insecure Writers’ Support Group, a way for writers to discuss their writing anxieties. Writers who take part in IWSG write about our writing anxieties and check in on each others’ posts on the first Wednesday of each month.

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At the weekend’s Oscars Jordan Peele won the award for Best Original Screenplay for Get Out. A racially charged horror-comedy was a brave choice for the subject of only his second feature film script, and Peele admitted in his acceptance speech that he stopped writing it around twenty times. It’s interesting that even someone as experienced and successful as Jordan Peele could have this kind of loss of faith – for those who aren’t familiar with his work, Jordan Peele is half of the hit sketch duo Key and Peele, and had been writing sketch comedy for MADtv since 2003.

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Review

Review – Black Panther

Given that Black Panther has become a cultural phenomenon, there’s been a lot of hype and backlash around the discussion of the film. Stripping all that away, how good is it?

Firstly it’s a good example of an action adventure – the characters are likeable and spark off each other; there’s a compelling story that flows through the film and doesn’t overstay its welcome; the locales (in both Wakanda and South Korea) are colourful and engaging; and there’s some really spectacular and fun action set pieces. That is the primary scale that Black Panther should be judged against, against films like Doctor No, Armaegeddon and the like. By that standard it measures up well – I’d be surprised if there’s many better action films released this year.

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It’s a REALLY good example of the genre, but Black Panther is still a fantasy about a man in a mask beating people up. / Black Panther screencap via Variety.com

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Read my Poetry

Jennifer Lawrence Looked Cold

This week a photograph of Jennifer Lawrence has been the centre of controversy. Feeling inspired but lazy I decided to construct a ‘found poem‘, searching through the things said online and reconstructing them into my own poetry.

'Red Sparrow' - Photocall
The Rorschach dress. /  Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP

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Quotes

Quote: Mel Brooks on seriousness in comedy

Mel Brooks at the White House for the 2009 Kennedy Center Honors by US Federal Government
Mel Brooks at the White House / Picture by the U.S. federal government
At the weekend (on Saturday February 17th) the BBC aired a special about Mel Brooks – Imagine…Mel Brooks: Unwrapped. As well as new material it included archive interviews, including this great quote:

“All my films are serious, if you examine any one of them. Because they are passionate and the depict human behaviour at given points in human history. They are not dramatic, and that’s the difference. You’ve got to be careful what you say when you use those words.

You can’t make a successful comedy that doesn’t have any passion. It will not be successful. You’ve got to say something about the system. About the social structure. About prejudice, about people, about behaviour. Comedy is not successful unless it deals with… even Laurel and Hardy, you could say they were cheap comedies, they have to deal with the system. The Marx Brothers always dealt with the system.

Every picture I’ve ever made has dealt with some aspect of the social system and human behaviour within it. I don’t want to get clinical about it but The Producers was about the dream of little Leo Bloom, about success. Zero Mostel in it says ‘Bloom, Bloom I’m sinking. I’m part of a society that demands success when all I can offer is failure.’ Blazing Saddles is about racial prejudice. It’s all about the hypocritical west shitting all over a black sheriff, wanting him dead.”

Analysis, Egotism

Reflective Analysis – Freedom

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Yesterday I published a poem here on the blog – Freedom – which I’ve also written a ‘reflective analysis’ about. This is a form of literary analysis which involves the writer going back and thinking about the choices they made – often on a subconscious level – as a way of better understanding their creative impulses.

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Read my Poetry

Freedom

Once a month the nation bow their heads.
One nation under God.
Check the killer’s skin:
Is it ‘seal the borders’
Or is it ‘nothing could be done’?

Thoughts and prayers.
Think and pray.
Do not act.
The nation could be torn apart,
If someone were to act.

A sacrifice to Freedom,
The true god of America.
The freedom to tear flesh from bodies at 1200 feet.
The freedom to end the lives of others on a whim.
The freedom to make one’s rage another’s problem.
The freedom to become important.

Jehovah does not live here.
One nation under Freedom.
Human sacrifice is demanded
And the great god is appeased.

A gun in every classroom,
A sniper in every tree.
When paranoia and chaos reign,
All men shall be Free.

  • David Stringer
Praying People Playground Helmet Kneel Bench Man
Kneel-Bench-Man 2599320 by Unknown via MaxPixel
Film & Television Opinion

Mythos in Star Trek Discovery 1.14: The War Without, the War Within

This blogpost is focused on looking at how The War Without, The War Within, the fourteenth episode of Star Trek: Discovery fits into the events and themes of the previously established universe. I’ve written similar blogposts looking at each previous episode (you can read the first here, and a full list under the Star Trek Discovery tag).

Surgical Alterations in Star Trek

It had been confirmed four episodes earlier that Tyler is really Voq, surgically and mentally altered to appear Human, but in this episode the viewer gets more of an insight into the process than had previously been the case. Tyler tells Saru that the process cracked his bones open, reduced the size of his heart and shaved down the tips of his fingers. He reveals that the Klingons refer to the process as a “species reassignment protocol”, which grounds the process in the language of real world sex reassignment surgery. In a previous recap I mentioned Arne Darvin, who in an episode of TOS replaces a Federation diplomat’s assistant. A 2007 comic depicted Darvin’s quite graphic transformation, which overlaps with what Tyler describes.

Star Trek Blood Will Tell

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