In the past years some blockbusters had an exponential increase in IQ. The people behind some of them have actually started treating the audiences as people who know the meaning of the word exponential. Nolan’s Batman and Inception, The Avengers, Iron Men (the plural of Iron Man I, II and III). Even last year’s action flicks Dredd and The Raid: Redemption, despite their brainless action, managed to treat audiences as educated members of society, who simply wanted to watch people’s brains spluttered on walls. It’s not completely my fault that I expected too much from WWZ. I was just spoiled.
Drew Goddard, Damon Lindelof, J. Michael Straczynski and Matthew Michael Carnahan. These were the four writers of WWZ. Five if you count Max Brooks, the writer of the novel (amazingly narrated). But I don’t know why you’d do that; as it’s been repeated to exhaustion, the movie took only three words from the novel: World War Z.
Its first scene made me look into these four men’s biographies. To my surprise, none had worked in advertising. The way they tried to cram so much information in the first sentences seemed more appropriate in a commercial than in a feature film. It should be the example used in lesson number one of screenwriting classes, under the title:
Common Pitfalls of Character Development.
Instead of an organic way to develop the background story of Brad Pitt’s character, the writers decided to make his kids ask him what they felt the audience needed to know. They chose that exact morning breakfast to have a conversation that would demonstrate all of our hero’s backstory. Show, don’t tell, was a rule completely ignored throughout the movie:
“Brad, we need you ‘cause of that thing that you did in that place.”
“Brad, he’s the leading figure of that thing with the thing we need the most right now.”
“Brad, you are 5’10’’, with blond hair and dreamy grey blue eyes.”
Yes, we can see that. Stop treating the audience like a bunch of brainless zombies! Write some intelligent and Read the rest of this entry
I used to try to shake off my mother whenever she tried to make me look more presentable. She’d try to clean a smudge of dirt of my freckled nose and I’d push her away yelling “Leave me alone, Hermione!” She’d try to button my shirt properly and I’d push her away, “I’ve missed a case, but I like it this way.” And I’d walk out the door with one collar near my ear and the other close to my chest. My mother no longer cares how messy I look, or simply learned to look as if she doesn’t care. Ironically to me, inevitably to her, now I’m the one who asks her for help to straighten out a sweater and make sure my shirt peaks out evenly underneath it.
“… the best way of killing a rose is to force it open when it is still only the promise of a bud.”
That was an excerpt of José Saramago’s The Cave. Saramago is a Portuguese writer and Nobel Laureate, who was born in Azinhaga, Iberian Peninsula, in 1922. I learned about his writing in high-school. One of his books was part of the curriculum so, naturally, due to my very cool rebellious teen spirit, I proceeded to ignore it, which was my mo. with any book I HAD to read. A few months after finishing high-school, after I could do nothing to change my paltry grades, I decided to read it. He slowly climbed up the ladder of my favourite writers to the top. It was a small ladder, Enid Blyton was there, as was J.K. Rowling and a Maxim Magazine erotica writer, whose writing helped me a lot in the pre-adsl days. It was still, by no means, a small accomplishment.
Saramago deals with daunting subjects. His most recognized work is Blindness. It paints a vivid image of violence, chaos, and Read the rest of this entry
1. “I haven’t any right to criticize books, and I don’t do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read Pride and Prejudice I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.”
2. “A successful book is not made of what is in it, but what is left out of it.”
3. “One should never use exclamation points in writing. It is like laughing at your own joke.”
4. “The test of any good fiction is that you should care something for the characters; the good to succeed, the bad to fail. The trouble with most fiction is that you want them all to land in hell together, as quickly as possible.”
5. “To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself…Anybody can have ideas–the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph.” Read the rest of this entry
Tic-tac, tic-tac, tic-tac; The clock is winding down. Two weeks to go, at the most. Yesterday I went to
my college, for what I hoped was the last time. The country is engulfed in flames, but on the trip
there, the whole 100kms of it, I saw no flame, no fire. It’s the peak of summer. It isn’t rainy,
cloudy, stormy, snowy, or any “y” literature and movies associate with departure.
Still, it’s time to say goodbye. These weren’t the best years of my life, as the
brochures made me believe. I wanted to keep my job and get busy
with my education. I wanted to meet different people.
Plus, Greendale has the most advanced typing class
in the Southwestern Greendale area.The fact
I could register by fax was a big
advantage. It still didn’t
culminate in the
“God help us if blog writers get their hands on this book. It’s a lot more fun than it may appear. Farnsworth identifies types of rhetorical strategies and illustrates each one with a wealth of quotations which make the book wonderfully readable. Not dry as dust but lively and inspiring.”
Above is the reason a broke, unemployed part-time blogger spent 18$ (plus taxes, plus customs, plus delivery).
Roger Ebert has been a big influence on me for a long time. His word means a lot to me. His reviews made me watch countless movies I wouldn’t have watched otherwise, his journal made me rethink some of my ideas on subjects like “are videogames art”, “how the media should cover mass-murders”, and improve my knowledge and even give me arguments to support my biased opinions. His suggestion that a single book could improve my blogging chances success, was enough to dig up my deepest hat and sit in the streets to raise my balance to those 18 dollars, plus taxes, plus customs, plus delivery.
This happened a year ago or so. When the book arrived a few weeks later, I had already forgotten that I ordered it and my blog had gathered more dust than the desk I was supposed to do all that writing, that would get me all that success.
A few months ago I restarted where I’d left off: the beginning. The fact that I’m no longer a student had something to do with it. I have yet to pay my tuition and pick up that sheet of paper, proof I’m now a qualified contributor to society’s work market. My Peter Pan complex has delayed the inevitable. I guess sneaking around at night into little girls’ bedrooms sprinkling fairy dust around me, leaves no time to pick up diplomas.
Despite delaying the inevitable, I knew that I now have no real goal, I’m done with school for now, and I doubt I’ll be able to find a job and… I do have a blog. So I’ve been working on it. For the first time, I managed to stay mildly consistent for a few months. Three or more posts a week, creating images for them, even GIF’s (yes, those are my tiny hands), I’ve even gotten a few Facebook followers. So yeah, things are getting pretty serious. Time to shake off the dust of Farnsworth’s Classic Rhetoric, have an asthma attack, and get serious about writing.
“EVERYONE SPEAKS and writes in patterns. Usually the patterns arise from unconscious custom; they are models we internalize from the speech around us without thinking much about it. But it also is possible to study the patterns deliberately and Read the rest of this entry
Gone with the Wind (1939)
Original: “You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.”
Clark Gable would now have no time for subtleties. A 50 year old man knows what he wants and kissing is just a little step along the way. This is 2013, after all.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Original: “E.T. phone home.”
Who uses phones anymore? Even text messages are outdated. Plus, you’re a big boy now. Tell your mother you’ll be home late. You’ll get there when you get there.
Forrest Gump (1994)
Original: “Mama always said life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Read the rest of this entry
I spent the better part of today translating a short story. I’m not a translator. I barely have enough credit to write in my own language, but I insist on writing in English. That gave me the silly idea that if I can write passably in Portuguese and a little less so in English, I could easily translate from one language to the other and vice-versa, and vice-versa, and vice-versa.
It turned out I can. I’m that kind of a genius. The problem is, and there’s always a problem, centered on a little detail: the translation looks, feels, and means nothing like the original looks or feels, and the meaning is almost completely lost. The plot is there: A man eats a tomato. The tomato was good. The end. It’s all there, but the words are all wrong. I can see that, but I have neither the skill or the patience to improve it.
I got the idea to start translating because it seemed like a simple enough way to make money online. My first attempts weren’t working out as I had thought: my naked selfies aren’t selling as I would hope and Read the rest of this entry
I wear glasses and say words like “derogatory”. I watched Arrested Development. So, yeah, I’m pretty smart. I’m not an expert in literature, but I’ve read a few of the Slavics, some Dickens, all of Bukowski’s novels and most of Vonnegut’s. Of my countrymen, I’ve read almost everything by Saramago and Eça; I read one or two other authors, but I don’t bother with the rest. But when people ask me which is my favorite book, I’ll always proudly reply: Harry Potter. It doesn’t matter which big words I use or the way I arrange my glasses when I reply, they’ll always be, in this order, surprised and condescending. “Don’t give me that derogatory look just yet”, I tell them “let me explain”.
There’s a very simple reason for Harry Potter remaining in the top of my favourite books: I read it as a child. I grew up with it. I was lucky to be the same age as Hermione, Harry and Ron. I went through the same things they did, at the same time. I was accepted in a very exclusive school, top 10 in the country at the time. My sister went there before me, but I still felt like a mudblood (sorry for the language). Before the school year I had to buy my supplies. Like a Weasley, everything I could re-use from my older siblings I did. Fortunately, my parents had TV’s, so I had only a 5 year older sister, smaller than me; I got some books, pens, notebooks, rulers, erasers, half of a set-square, and one particularly large summer dress. What I couldn’t get second hand, I had to buy at the lowest price, so I had to scourge Diagon Alley for the best bargains. I was either 10 or 11, I thought I was big and brave, but like Harry I was also scared when Olivander helped me choose my wand. I mean, when he helped me getting chosen by my wand. I also bought my cauldron, 1 set of crystal phials, gym clothes, 2 gridded notebooks, 1 telescope, 1 drawing pad, 15 different pencils, 1 set of brass scales and the required books I hadn’t inherited: Portuguese, English, History, Sciences, Defense Against The Dark Arts and Geography. I also had to buy new clothes. I wanted a pair of loose jeans, with a cartoon on the back and metal chains, which connected from the beginning of the pocket to the end, and hung almost to the knees. I got the cheap imitation and which still made me happy.
You might have noticed I have some difficulty separating reality from fantasy. That’s the muggle in you talking. Tell him to quiet down for the next few hundred words. Read the rest of this entry
I have this post and James Altucher to thank to for making me aware of Charles Bukowski, one of my favourite writers.
Bukowski was disgusting, his actual real fiction is awful, he’s been called a misogynist, overly simplistic, the worst nxarcissist, (and probably all of the above are true to an extent) and whenever there’s a collection of “Greatest American Writers” he’s never included.
And yet… he’s probably the greatest American writer ever. Whether you’ve read him or not, and most have not, there’s 6 things worthy of learning from an artist like Bukoswski.
I consider “Ham on Rye” by Bukowski probably the greatest American novel ever written. It’s an autobiographical novel (as are all his novels except “Pulp” which is so awful it’s unreadable) about his childhood, being beaten by his parents, avoiding war, and beginning his life of destitution, hardship, alcoholism, and the beginnings of his education as a writer.
I’m almost embarrassed to admit he’s an influence. Many people hate him and I’m much more afraid of being judged…
View original post 2,120 more words