Do You Read The Articles You Publish, E!?

That punctuation is tricky to figure out- if something ends with an exclamation point and you have a questions regarding a BONEHEADED THING THEY PRINTED, what’s the proper etiquette?

I’m just gonna go with calling them on it. Hopefully, you have’t seen this.

In brief: Zooey Deschanel is on the cover of Elle Magazine Women in TV issue. In the article, she says lovely things like “If there’s one thing I’d like to graduate from, it’s girl-on-girl hate. I don’t believe in it.” and describes social media as being akin to “…the grown-up version of middle school nastiness…”

Now, I thought, that’s a bit harsh… But then I saw the writeup on the article via E!, including this:

“The New Girl actress joins Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler and Allison Williams in being honored for her comedic skills (and, come on, good looks!).”

So her comedic skills aren’t really why she’s being honoured, then? And those other women, had they been homely as hedge fences, wouldn’t have been deserving of being celebrated either? Or is the inference that Elle wouldn’t bother to honour any woman, funny as she might be, if she were considered ugly?

Don’t get me wrong- I totally get the slavering froth pile that is E! and their desire for an LCD audience- but I’m not accepting that as an excuse. In an public forum, can a woman not do her job well and be recognized for it without how she looks entering into the conversation? Maybe a good question to ask yourselves, rather than being kind of idiotically sexist…

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Kevin Smith Says What We Are All Thinking

Hopefully you`ve had a chance to read If you like my stuff, then you like women by Kevin Smith.

If you know nothing else about Kevin Smith, you should probably know he`s good at rallying his following (anyone remember the Southwest debacle?) and he really doesn`t seem to hate women. In fact, judged solely through his work, he seems to like and respect women.

So, to make a short story shorter, someone (who, according to the article, doesn`t think it`s fair to be called out for your actions, so I won`t mention a name) wrote a blurb-type thing that included a small snark attack on Smith`s 2001 film Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. It was a throwaway line that Smith seemed to acknowledge with a throwaway woe-is-me response in jest.

Subsequently, as so often happens whilst on the internet, shit went crazy from that point onward.

Does it suck that the first thought in some brains is to lash out at a woman with some misogynist bullshit? It sure does. But I don`t see what this has to even do with Kevin Smith… aside from publicity. He mentioned published material on Twitter that bugged him, naming the source of the material (people seem to do that a lot on Twitter. Shocker!). A bunch of other people took up their own cause and spewed some lady-hating venom at the source of the aforementioned material. Should that happen? Well, the lady hating, no. Not ever. But the rest of it…

There was a teachable moment here. One where two people could have stood up for the what (and why) of things they say and think. But, in this case, half of the problem goes unresolved. It was a golden opportunity to call out any old random people who were using a nothing issue as a platform to spread hateful ideology. Instead… At least Kevin Smith called it out. So that`s something.

As an aside, if you look at the original article (included in the link above), there`s no reason given why a bunch of content is disappearing from Netflix in 2014. I`m assuming it`s a licensing issue, but that writer certainly didn`t bother to explain it. Just another example of the sloppy snarkism that seems to have completely invaded (and, possibly, saturated) the whole of the internet age. Just frame the smallest snippet of information entirely with some self-serving, snark-filled inner monologue and, voila, you`re qualified to write whatever you wish. There really are no more journalists, just the last outpost of the sad hipster- the only outlet where they can carpet bomb a path with their own special snark (which, pathetically, is just plain old, tired, sad, same as all the rest snark. Sigh.).

That`s just my opinion. And I can say with fair certainty I`m not saying any of this as a result of some deep-seeded misogyny.

PS: I actually really enjoyed Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. How do you like them apples?

ICYMI: Roundup of Must-Reads from 2013

You`ve been busy writing. You`ve spent a huge chunk of the year, brow furrowed, trying to figure out what will happen to imaginary people who live in places that don`t exist. It sounds crazy, but it`s true. So, be sure to sit back and take a moment to celebrate your accomplishments.

And, as soon as that moment is over, get your ass back to reading and writing.

Here`s a (very short and quickly assembled) list for your holiday reading pleasure. Of course, you can scan back over the (brief) history of this blog and (hopefully) find more content, links and reading of interest to you.

Most importantly, no matter how measured your success in 2013, keep chasing your passions. Remember that hard work will always get you somewhere.

And all the other crazy cliches you can think of… Or:

The Black Board Presents Everything On Women Working In Film and TV

From Go Into The Story: Read (and learn from) 2013 Screenplays

Listen to the Scriptnotes Holiday Spectacular

Vulture and The Toughest Scene I Wrote

A list of Movie Cliches You Must Avoid

Read the wisdom of FILM CRIT HULK

Practice what [Mystery Executive] preaches

(Though there is really nothing better on Twitter than Stay Puft.)

Get thee to thy Black List

Even though Hollywood ain`t perfect, don`t forget that the tech sector is a sexist timesuck for women (especially as board members)

So always be thankful for what you got. Now drink up, and let`s boo boo. Happy Holidays!

 

Mysteries We Love: That Mystery Executive… (@MysteryExec)

A quick post (before more on year-end list-ness tomorrow) to give a quick shout out…

One of the resources I was most pleasantly surprised to discover in 2013 was [Mystery Executive] on Twitter.

Random? Sure. After all @MysteryExec doesn`t necessarily give out advice or tips or solicit you to part with your monies like the gurus do, but there is a whole lotta action going down like, oh I dunno, this:

MysteryExec’s advice to male screenwriters on writing women

In a more random and less related note, I found a few of these Me to We cards when going through my stash of holiday cards left over from last year. (Found them after I bought a bunch of Unicef cards for this year though, damnit!) I think I`m going to send these out from now on, though. They`ll carry my favourite message from 2013 into 2014 and beyond.

#BeTheChange

(Thank you for your kind words, courage and leadership @MysteryExec)

Support It: Alex Winter and the Deep Web

At this moment, the project has about three days to go and needs about another 10K. If you love interesting docs on the subject of the deeper recesses of the internet, Alex Winter`s Deep Web might just be for you.

One person at the Russian Oligarch level would put this doc over the funding goal. So check out the Kickstarter page to get involved. And hurry!

 

How Your Writing Really Can Make a Difference

To be totally blunt, the suckiest thing about writing for a living is the lag time between finishing your work, and your work actually being done. You can feel, sometimes, like you`ve been sucked into a black hole made entirely of lag time. (And, let`s face it, I need something that`s going to help me use up all those excess holiday stamps and address labels…)

Of course, you already know that December 10th is International Human Rights Day. If you`re looking for a way for your writing to make a difference (or even a small way to pay tribute to the life of the great Nelson Mandela), get involved in the Amnesty International Write for Rights campaign. There are letters you can write, petitions you can sign and actions you can take alongside tens of thousands of others.

If ever you worry that your writing doesn`t reach the right people, this is one day it absolutely will.

(EDIT: The link above is to the Canadian site. If you`re looking to get involved in your region, go to Amnesty.org to sign up.)

The Award Goes To… Fruitvale Station

I still have a scant few 2013 movies to see but, of all the movies I have seen, I loved maybe a few. The movie that stays with me, though, the one that still haunts me with it`s depth and clarity and vision – that`s Fruitvale Station. Any movie that still gives you shivers six months after seeing it once, well, in my experience that`s incredibly awesome and rare.

It doesn`t matter to me if Ryan Coogler gets an Oscar – for writing or directing or whatever else –  but he should get some kind of a parade. A first script and film that powerful… he`s magic or something.

(Also, I doubt very much Grudge Match will knock it off the top of my list of 2013 favourites. But I do promise to have an open mind and let the magic happen… Seriously.)

Smaller screens are, sometimes, just smaller screens

I am from a small town that’s fairly… remote. I moved away in my teens and lived away for a long time. Nowadays, I’m trying to focus more on family, so I’m here more often than I have been since I was a kid.

Some great advice I’d gotten from Michael Hauge right as I embarked on my screenwriting adventure was to see two new movies a week. (It’s great advice for anyone, but essential if you want to do this for work.) Anyone can watch two movies a week! Movies are pricey- especially in Canada- but if most of your entertainment budget is two movies a week, go nuts, right? I’ve traveled a lot and, unglamorous as it sounds, I’ll often spend at least a little downtime in a theatre wherever I go, so I’ve been able to make that schedule work in the many months since I dedicated myself to it.

Everywhere, of course, except when I’m in my hometown. And it’s about to get worse. For everyone.

I’m not nostalgic for this theatre. This isn’t a theatre I grew up with. It was opened in the year 2000, I believe. And it’s dreadful. Just trying to see movies there this year has been a non-stop parade of crazy problems, bad service and a location in total chaos and disrepair. Literally, at least two or three times a month, something at this theatre went horribly wrong. I started a personal boycott of the place after “technical issues” ruined a marathon viewing of The World’s End (and the one chance I had to see it with my dad too! Jerks! If you’re spending at least $50 a week someplace, they should be able to do their jobs a majority of the time, don’t you think?)

Given its poor reputation, I’d rather see the whole thing close down, but that would leave a total lack of a movie theatre for about a hundred miles in this country (the actual closest theatre is a Carmike Cinema, which is located clear in another country, FYI).

And this oh-so-minor upheaval has caused me to wonder two things:

1-Is that insane, that the next closest theatre to where I grew up in my own country is a hundred miles away?

and

2-Would not having a theatre at all have any effect on these crazy kids here today?

If there hadn’t been one lonely screen (which maybe expanded to three screens) here when I was a kid, I would have lost my mind. Sure, there was VHS (Look it up! It was really a thing once!). But a movie theatre did, and still, represents to me a license to dream. Maybe those crazy kids today have video games and streaming entertainment and the internet so much that it doesn’t occur to them that there are barriers to imagination. I hope that’s true. I hope it will always be true.

The More Things Change

Another day, another remake/reboot/sequel/prequel gets the green light.

For example, at 10:22 am on November 18th, Variety’s Jon Weisman takes the stance that originals are still outpacing remakes and that work gets remade for stage often, so why not in film and TV? A fairly short, but level insight into the process, cleverly titled In Defense of the Offense of Remakes

… Of course, that balance all comes crashing down just about an hour later, when Variety also exclusively reports that someone somewhere is producing a sequel to It’s A Wonderful Life.

Kaboom.

In fact, a lot of the remakes/reboots/sequels/prequels that people buzz about seem to be things no one has ever asked for. For example, I’ve never heard a single person say “I really think someone should remake Point Break!” Why? Because Point Break is a perfect movie. Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze? Perfect. Bank robbing presidents? Done. Running and jumping and surfing and skydiving? Totally. Nothing anyone could do to it could possibly make it better.*

(*Except maybe Edgar Wright. He made Point Break the slightest shade of different-as-better and called it Hot Fuzz. But, apparently, that’s still not good enough…)

The argument could be made that, when a great filmmaker has an interesting take on existing work, why shouldn’t they take a shot at putting their own stamp on it?

As for the Wonderful Life sequel, there was what appears to be a trailer released for this project (found on The Film Stage) where the voiceover (after the part about it being in 3D) includes this nugget:

“…George Bailey’s grandson is forever changed (when) his Aunt Zuzu comes back as an angel and shows him how much better the world would have been had he never been born…”

Now… now wait just a minute… Is this some dark take on the angel tale? Is someone planning to take the Bailey clan down the dark path the great Frank Capra himself traveled in post-war america? Will probing questions about HUAC shape the narrative? Or will this be an exploration of Capra’s own disillusionment about films and the commercial interests that he rallied against?

Or was that just an error in the voiceover?

Either way, surely there will be more depressing remake/reboot/sequel/prequel again tomorrow. Le sigh.