Coppola Channels Daffy Duck, Finds MCU “Despicable”

Francis Ford Coppola has joined his colleague Martin Scorsese in dismissing superhero films in general and Marvel in particular, calling them “despicable.”

Rosy Cordero covers it in Entertainment Weekly and David Crow has a nice contextual take over at Den of Geek.

Sigh. Much like Bugs Bunny, superhero films might not be considered “high art,” but they’re not going away anytime soon. Besides which, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar already covered this: he’s not wrong, but he’s not right.

Toxic fans and risk-averse studios seem much better targets for umbrage — and finding ways to fund the types of films Coppola and Scorsese make without relying on the hell-bent-for-content motivation Netflix has? That just might be more worthwhile.

“Comic Book Movies” and “High Art”

Just last month I was musing about how, even in the face of “nerddom’s” ascension in all aspects of pop culture, people still feel the need to belittle or otherwise distance themselves and their work from science fiction as if the genre itself was wildly radioactive.

Now, in the face of a more meditative and gritty look at the origins of Joker –with more than a few homages to Martin Scorsese’s films– Scorsese himself felt the need to denigrate the Marvel film juggernaut as not “cinema.”

Now, on the one hand, that assertion is silly. It’s like saying a hamburger isn’t food because its preparation and presumed nutritional value isn’t on par with the fare from a three-star Michelin restaurant (and yes, you won’t surprise me if you produce examples of people asserting just that).

On the other hand, the aspirations behind films (and food) can vary greatly. “The Remains of the Day” is going for something different than “Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-o-rama” — and anyone insisting “they’re the same” because “they’re both feature films” can and should be summarily mocked.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote a piece in the Hollywood Reporter that tackles just this dichotomy tackling the elephant in the room that is the notion of “high art.” It’s well worth a read.

Video

Analog Impressionist meets Digital Impressionist

Here’s a video that was posted on October 4th and has been making the rounds.

I’ve seen Jim Meskimen before (he’s phenomenal) and I’ve seen “deep fakes” before, but this is quite the combo.

We live in interesting (and potentially scary) time.

Space is big. Really, really big.

I saw Ad Astra this past weekend, which is doing its part to make sci-fi hard like vibranium not squishy like flubber

NASA is very clear on the whole “Space is big” thing.

Scientist James O’Donoghue decided to make an animation to demonstrate how “warp speeds” worked in Star Trek, its various incarnations known for loving science… while certainly not being beholden to rigidly adhering to known norms because writers.

In any case, even though vast distances can be crossed in three days or three weeks “at maximum warp” based the needs of the episode, official unofficial definitions of how faster than the speed of light Star Trek‘s warp speeds have been documented. So, Warp 9.9 –basically the point where Scotty would presumably tell Kirk in no uncertain terms that the Enterprise is about to fly apart– is 2,083 times the speed of light. That’s fast.

But space is big. Really, really big. So fast is, wait for it, relative.

So I don’t agree with the headline that warp speed is “achingly slow” –I mean I’d like to get to the next star system in the same time it take us to get to the other side of the planet– it only goes so far, so fast.

How About Those Vikings?

I stumbled across this longer article from BBC Scotland going into the impact of the Vikings last year, well after Leif Erikson Day and thought, “Why not use it for later?”

And so I scheduled it for far in the future, much as my Norwegian ancestors put up blog posts and salt cod for later use.

Rejecting the Poverty Mentality

While I don’t currently work in the non-profit realm, I spent many years working at theaters that were, almost invariably, non-profits.

The anthropology of theaters is worth another post (or really, a book), but suffice it to say that pretty much all the theaters I’ve ever worked at started based on the zeal and passion of a handful of people. They were artistic start-ups, if you will. Time and again, I saw theaters that hit a plateau in terms of growth that seemed to invariably include what I came to call “the poverty mentality.” It was a thriftiness driven to pathological extremes of cheapness.

Vu Le, of Nonprofit AF, has some thoughts about that insane cheapness, which he calls the PISS mentality (Pride in Scarcity and Sacrifice). I love that and will now start using that except in mixed company where people will get pissy about pointing out their PISSiness.

Building a Creative Business by Nuts and Bolts

Trying to make a living –or just some nontrivial income– from your creative endeavors seems like a monumental task. At least it feels so for me.

Luckily, for me, I enjoy some of the minutiae of process and procedures and figuring out devilish details I can repeat so all that small stuff is not stuff I sweat over.

Then I constantly get reminded about how much I don’t know. Also I don’t have enough time. Also, there’s something else I don’t know.

That’s where I appreciate all the writers and other creatives who share their experience including the lumps . There’s Holly Lisle for a lot of advice on writing, John August for a lot of writing and screenwriting, Seth Godin for a lot of marketing among others.

One energetic creator and entrepreneur whose resources I’ve shared before is Russell Nohelty. One of his recent posts goes into all the various ways you can try and build up the business side of your creative business, including the prime importance of having and cultivating a mailing list. But lest you want more, he does go into detail on all sorts of things.

Seriously, he goes into the weeds. He wants to go into the weeds. He’s like Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio’s site Wordplayer where they want to explain what muscles in your hand are used when picking up a pencil to begin writing. I’m talking about that level of detail.

So he’s been posting his monthly income and musing on it for the whole year and he recently did a breakdown of what he’s doing with that aforementioned mailing list.

It’s so hard finding an audience –and many people won’t care for your stories anyway– that demystifying the boring yet vital stuff is very much appreciated.

(And I should mention if you really dig the sort of stuff Russell does, he’s got a crowdfunder going that’ll end in just about a day).

Science Fiction still Alien to Some Authors

I mentioned on Tuesday that my office is geeky enough to spontaneously start talking about constructed languages.

As an inveterate geek who can pass as a “muggle,” I’m well acquainted with the concept of downplaying any connections to nerd/geek culture. My reluctance to unfurl my own weird flag has waned greatly over the past 15 years or so, but I understand that reticence.

Sarah Ditum, writing in the Guardian, details how authors have historically, and even today are averse to their work being labeled “science fiction” even as “nerd culture” has never been more dominant.

Who Doesn’t Like Conlangs?

This past week at work, talk drifted to Tolkien and constructed languages, or conlangs, because that’s how we roll.

Now, I’m not about to present any paper to the Language Creation Society. It takes a lot of time to create a full, working language. For Rogue Tyger, I have actual world languages stand in for the various human and alien languages, otherwise I’d be up to half a dozen conlangs by now.

Nevertheless, I find the whole process fascinating — and apparently, Hollywood has found the whole process invaluable to their worldbuilding as Oriana Schwindt details in an article for Vox.

All Ready to Feel the Power of the Dark Crystal

Modern fandom is a tricky thing. Geek culture is ascendant in so many ways, often in service of mining intellectual property (IP) to find that latest multi-billion dollar franchise. And corporations appear so risk averse towards the potential market downside of new ideas that they will bet on IP, any IP, over people. At least, based on what I read in trade news about how studios are hungry for any known quantity, my premise is a studio executive will green light the next Battleship a dozen times before they say yes to developing the next Inception.

Thankfully, the studios also appear to be giving the keys of their IP kingdoms to people who love the originals more often than not. No longer will we have David Hasselhoff as Nick Fury. (Well, probably not, until late 90s nostalgia kicks in).

So when I heard word that there was going to be a prequel series to The Dark Crystal, a calculated move to hit us Gen Xers right in the feels, I was both excited and wary at the same time. And then they dropped this:

Now, for those of you who want to go deeper, there’s also a nine-minute “behind-the-scenes” promo that has a lot of the actors and producers involved. It’s here clearly to get one excited about the upcoming series

Do what you will this Labor Day weekend. I know some of my time will be spent returning to another place, another time… in the age of wonder!