Writing Like an Angry God

I have often mentioned Scriptnotes, the screenwriting podcast hosted by John August and Craig Mazin, as a source from some really good information and inspiration for writing.

On the one hand, I could arguably link to them just about every week, but if I had to pick just one this year, this week’s unprecedented solo effort by Craig Mazin is one you should listen to if you’re about to embark on writing a feature film anytime soon.

They’ve called it “How to write a movie,” but I contend the title above is more apt.

You’ll see. It’s good stuff. (Unlike what’s about to happen to your characters.)

Clash of the Streaming Titans, Revisited

Just about a year ago, I was musing about the future of streaming TV –which seems to pretty much be “the future of TV”– and well…

Things have gotten a lot more complicated.

Content to be the Content Gorilla, Disney is poised to unleash its streaming juggernaut this Fall, basically giving us the Vault in on-demand form. All those lovely Disney properties on Netflix, of which there are many, will be gone too soon.

Meanwhile, AT&T, still digesting its acquisition of Time Warner, is planning its own streaming service. And it too is planning to pull its goodies from Netflix and elsewhere.

Something tells me things will get messy.

The Uncomfortable Value of Networks in Creative Pursuits

Someone posted an article by Casey Lesser on Artsy about one of those things we creative folks already knew.

Having a network is important.

In this case, some MOMA researchers looked at artists in the 20th century, their personal networks of colleagues, and their work to do analysis on how much “who you know” helped.

How to network is worth its own series of posts, but reading some of the observations was interesting… and there’s also an interactive map that you can play around with.

Having just been at Escape Velocity last week, I was reminded how meeting complete strangers can be energizing: knowing what excites them can in itself spark creativity. And then there’s articles like this that remind one we can’t be islands surrounded by vacuum. We need to be part of an ecosystem, durn it!

TV Staying and Going – 2019 Edition

For those of you wondering what’s staying and going across the various networks, Vox has its usual list.

If you’re like me, there’s going to be at least one “oh, that’s too bad” and one “really, that’s still on?”

I should make Bingo cards one year.

Writing Therapy from a Writer Turned Therapist

Look over a score of “tortured artist” memes and you won’t have trouble seeing ones with writers. Writers are often portrayed as full of angst, indecision, indecision because of angst, angst because of indecision.

Basically, the archetypical writer is in need of a good therapist.

And what better therapist than a writer who’s become a therapist? That’s what screenwriter Dennis Palumbo decided to do… and he recently talked with screenwriter Ken Levine all about it.

It’s about 38 minutes and a fun listen.

Where I’ll Be: Escape Velocity 2019

Wow, has it really been over a month since I’ve posted anything?

Okay, well, I can’t go into everywhere that I’ve been, but I can tell you where I will be this weekend: Escape Velocity!

Escape Velocity 2019 Promo from Museum of Science Fiction on Vimeo.

I’ll be part of two panels and one performance….

Friday @ 8:20pm: Alien: 40 Years of Fright

I get to chat with Charles de Lauzirika all about Alien and such.

Saturday @ 3:30pm: Nostromo 2: Electric Alien Boogaloo

If you don’t know about Jabberwocky Audio Theater‘s live performance lovingly sending up Alien and Buck Rogers, you clearly haven’t been to our website.

But even if you didn’t know until now, join us as we give you more sci-fi references than a Cyberman can shake a Dalek plunger at.

Sunday @ 12:15pm: So You Want to Make a Film? A legally-sound producer’s guide

For those of you who aren’t adverse to making lists and know that producing a film means you need to know what Inland Marine insurance is, this is the nitty-gritty (albeit lightning-paced) panel for you as we go through the unglamorous aspects of filmmaking.

Interview about Jabberwocky Audio Theater

Time for a little shameless self-promotion. Most of my writing these days is for Jabberwocky Audio Theater, so when a sci-fi writer was looking to interview other sci-fi writers about their writing, well, that’s what I talked about.

I also muse about Star Trek vs. Star Wars, sci-fi authors I like, and other fun topics.

Isaac Asimov Predicts the Distant Future of 2019

Back in 1983, prolific writer Isaac Asimov was asked to imagine what the world would be like well into the 21st Century: 2019 to be precise.

Now, considering that much of his prolific writing was science fiction, it’s well worth reading. Remember, this is the guy who wrote the Foundation series which had the field of “psychohistory” that was able to predict future trends. I found his predictions to be prescient in some aspects and hopeful and others. I suppose someone might find that in and of itself unremarkable, but just as with much of Asimov’s fiction, the fun part comes from how he analyzes how society fashions itself.

Get to Writing, the Asimov Way

Lest Monday’s post seem insufficiently motivational, I figured I’d pass along this article by Charles Chu about how Isaac Asimov managed to be such a prolific writer.

In case you’re not aware, Isaac Asimov wrote hundreds of books… and not just in science fiction, for which he’s perhaps best remembered. In fact, his books cover most of the categories covered by Dewey Decimal Classification.

Not only that, he seemed to love to write. He wrote voraciously like some people read (and, of course, being a voracious reader enabled that).

So take a look. From ongoing learning to getting out of being stuck, there’s some good takeaways.

Motivation and the Midlife Crisis

This is for all the Gen Xers out there, irretrievably in their 40s and 50s, facing Monday with Garfield-level malaise.

Here’s an article by Jonathan Rauch in The Atlantic which I missed when it first came out in 2014, but seems to have hit me at just the right moment… and it might be just the right moment for you all as well.

In feature story fashion, it goes into the anecdote of 40-somethings seemingly successful, yet nevertheless unsatisfied into some deep data about happiness and something known as the “U curve” which has been studied for some time now.

Basically, one’s happiness often dips right about now –it’s not just a Gen X thing– and goes back up later in the 50s into the 60s.

The really interesting thing I found from the article was that this phenomenon has been observed across cultures and even in other species of great apes (apparently, we all don’t feel so great at the same point in our lifecycle).

The motivation part of it comes deeper in the article where it’s speculated that the subsequent upswing in happiness (thus making the U curve) comes from a re-calibration of what one values of life — which is comforting, though I understand if that feels more like comfort in the Vulcan logic kind of way.