Earth -> Moon -> Mars… or Mars Direct?

Although I don’t have a huge number of posts on the site about space exploration, it remains something I always like to follow.

I mean, some of this should be obvious given the whole writing science fiction thing. The writing doesn’t exist in a vacuum, as it were. A couple years ago, I read a number of science fiction (and straight science) pieces about Mars, but I suppose I just scratched the dry, red soil surface.

So I read this recent piece by Marina Koren in The Atlantic about the current NASA planning around getting to Mars with great interest. I especially liked some of the details of the different plans people have about getting to Mars.

A Day in the Life of a Writer in the Business

I’m always interested in different people’s writing processes, including how they balance non-writing.

Okay, I should probably specify productive non-writing. It’s pretty easy to procrastinate and not write.

Novelist Vincent Zandri has an interesting approach that I’ve heard from other writers in how they approach the business of writing by being very definite about both the writing part and the business part. I appreciate the level of detail.

Credit Where Credit is Due: Batman Edition

Still thinking of the Oscars this week and I came across this piece in Forbes which mentions a small coup in terms of credits.

You see, for the longest time, the iconic character of Batman was credited pretty much only to Bob Kane, when in fact, that particular caped crusader was not a solo act. In fact, there’s a Bill Finger award that has been established specifically to recognize comic book writers whose work in comic book writing has gone previously unrecognized (at least significantly).

So that’s a Throwback Thursday to make you smile.


Award-Winning Hair

I don’t usually have much to say about the Oscars, but I do love checking out all the nominated shorts and this year’s winner for best animated short is just, well, check out Hair Love:

Barry Lyga on Writing What You Know (kinda)

I’ve been musing on the old –and to my mind, inaccurate– advice to “write what you know” and I’ve been meaning to write a post about it.

Barry Lyga, as per his website (which you should check out).

But in the meantime –and perhaps for the better– how about I just link to a piece by novelist (and occasional Tohubohu screenwriter) Barry Lyga?

There’s a whole lot of nuggets in here, but I won’t spoil them for you. Suffice to say I agree with a lot of this and find that understanding how you’re like your characters and their experiences has rung true for me as both an actor and a writer.

As it happens, he has over 50 articles of writing advice on his website, so if you like what he has to say, read on! (And I’m sure he’d suggest picking up some of his books. Writers gotta eat, y’know).

But first things first, check out why you should write what you know (kinda).

Disney+ has added a lot of subscribers

I guess this is turning out to be the week that my eye keeps catching articles about streaming services, given Monday’s post.

Yesterday, Peter Kafka over in Vox mentions how Disney+ now has over 28 million subscribers. While that’s nothing compared to Netflix’s well-above 160 million subscribers, it is impressive on top of its already impressive debut in November with 10 million subscribers. It also makes Disney’s stated goal to get to 60-90 million subscribers by 2024 very doable.

In fact, I won’t be surprised if they get over 40 million before the end of the year as they appear all ready to entice additional viewers with the upcoming Marvel shows starting in August — and then there’s the return of the Mandalorian in October.

I’ve searched for a succinct chart that lists the various streaming services, their last reported subscriber numbers, and their/analysts’ projections. I haven’t found anything yet, but a CNBC piece highlighted Disney+ and its debut subscribers and reporter Alex Sherman did provide some numbers of other services for comparison.

If there’s a “FiveThirtyEight” style chart out there, definitely let me know.

Netflix and a “Less is More” Strategy

I know I’m not the only one who’s noticed how much content seems to be slipping away from Netflix as more and more companies take their metaphorical Matchbox cars and go home. And by “home,” I mean “create their own streaming service.”

Rani Molla, writing in Vox, goes into how Netflix is trying to do more with less content, including more subscribers and more awards.

The article itself covers a number of topics, including how –two years after I was reading about it– Netflix really has succeeded in getting more of its content to be homemade.

I mean, I understand they want to have some legitimacy, prestige, and a glowing reputation. I just want it to have over 10,000 titles. And, by gum, I want it to be an online streaming archive akin to the old Leonard Maltin Movie Guides. How about that, Turner Classic Movies (TCM)? How about you work on curating all that awesome content you do and just let Netflix distribute it. Change money as makes sense.

What’s that you say? TCM is part of Warner Brotheres which is part of AT&T and that’s doing it’s own streaming service so there’s no chance in Hell or Gotham that might idea of Netflix-as-distributor will come to pass?


Hangin’ with the Velocipastor

This week, I joined the Streaming Nonsense crew in their mission to review lesser known films available online. This time, we looked at The Velocipastor. Is it everything you want from a disillusioned-priest-becomes-dinosaur-and-fights-ninjas movie? Give a listen.

Classics per Checkout: the New York Public Library’s List

The New York Public Library (NYPL) released a list of its most checked out books in its 125 year history (it was founded in 1895). Coming from a family that includes librarians, archivists, and avid history readers, this was delightful news. I learned about it as the NPR story covering it was shared widely among my social media channels.

One curious note in the NYPL release: an honorable mention for Goodnight Moon, which I suppose they suppose people would wonder why it was absent. It turns out the NYPL’s chief children’s librarian didn’t care for it and, seeing that this was back in the age of traditional gatekeeping, made sure it was kept out. Dan Kois over at Slate has some additional details.

Strange attitudes about Margaret Wise Brown’s evergreen book with the green bedroom aside, the whole list is interesting, considering it does represent over a century of readers. I hope other library systems add their lists in time.

Rule of Law: Theatrical Edition

I haven’t been in a stage production for an age, but I was both on stage and backstage enough times to lose count — and I was a theatergoer long before that.

Larry Blyden

So I greatly appreciated Mark Evanier sharing actor, director, and all-around theatrical Larry Blyden‘s theatrical laws. Laws, do you hear?

Okay, to be honest, I haven’t always followed Law #5 or Law #10, but I definitely do my best with Law #17. Law #2 applies to films as well as plays and Law #6 applies just about everywhere.

So if you feel the need for greater regulation, check ’em out.