Tag Archives: movies

Drew’s Reviews: Annihilation

Drew’s Reviews: Annihilation by Alex Garland and how it differs from the novel by Jeff Vandermeer.

How Replaying Movies Takes Writers Behind the Scenes

Reaching Cool

Writers are never just passive observers. Whether we’re reading or watching a movie, we don’t consume stories, we occupy them. We’re drawn into the events on the surface, while our subconscious minds pick apart the mechanics behind them. Continue reading How Replaying Movies Takes Writers Behind the Scenes

Why I’m Worried about the Future of Franchise Films

"Merry Sithmas to all"
“Merry Sithmas”

My Franchise Friend

When I buy a ticket to a franchise film I feel like I’m enabling a friend with a history of letting me down. It’s been a while since he’s violated my trust. Maybe it’s time to give him another chance. Maybe he’s running with a better crowd, producers and screenwriters who actually care about him. Maybe he found the help he needed. Continue reading Why I’m Worried about the Future of Franchise Films

Death Flix

“Where every movie ends tragically”

Desperate to combat movie piracy, the Motion Picture Association of America brought the major studios together to find a creative solution. Spending an unprecedented sum, they implemented a plan to thwart digital theft for generations to come. Lobbying the authorities to sink file sharing sites like The Pirate Bay, they found two more sites rose up to take its place. Realizing they couldn’t stop people from sharing movies online, the MPAA decided to flood the net with altered versions. Continue reading Death Flix

Andrew: A Story About Cinema Therapy

Cinema therapy can help you escape reality, but reality is not always so easy to get back to.

Originally a guest post for rachelintheoc.com, this essay reveals my coping mechanism for dark times, side effects and all (follow Rachel on Twitter @RachelintheOC). This story explains why I can’t have a conversation about depression without pop culture references peppered in. It’s one of my best pieces, which is why I had to share it here.


Andrew: A Story About Cinema Therapy

From ages two to six, I spent my waking hours at a living room daycare center. My playmates were the caregiver’s three sons. Their principal forms of recreation were hurling rocks through windows, leaving milk jugs in the street, and beating the living snot out of me.

It was their home, their shield generator facility, and I was the rebel scum who’d broken into it. They had to make an example. Their mother turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to my side of the story. She had stories of her own to watch.

Her boys kept the den locked down, the only window of escape was through the TV. While they amputated action figures, I fled to a galaxy far far away. Watching Star Wars on an endless loop, something happened to me. Turning away from the screen, hyperdrive lines streaked through my vision. Out the window, I watched Tie Fighters chase robins. Looking at the night sky, I saw the moon was no moon.

I ceased to see Mark Hamill on screen. I saw myself. I had slipped into Luke Skywalker’s Velcro boots. I was mourning Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. I wanted to go back to save Obi Wan. When my caregiver switched the TV off, I saw the world differently.

These boys weren’t my peers, they were storm troopers marching across my finger paintings, clones programmed to sit on my face. Seduced by the dark side of the force, they dragged me through the backyard, and pushed me into the Sarlacc pit. When I limped inside, Nanny Vader yelled at me for tracking mud across her carpet. She dragged me to the detention block by my ear.

This wasn’t a day care, it was a Death Star. I wasn’t clogging a laundry shoot full of toys, I was launching proton torpedoes into a thermal exhaust port. I wasn’t waving a tampon at my captors, I was slicing bad guys with a light saber.

When Nanny Vader told me to eat my peas, the ghost of Obi Wan Kenobi appeared beside her.

He waved his robes, “Don’t touch them, they’re rife with the dark side. Fling them under the refrigerator for the swamp monster.” Continue reading Andrew: A Story About Cinema Therapy

Don’t Just Read More, Watch More (Audio Blog)

(Download the instrumental version here)

Writers are always told to read more. I say, they ought to watch more movies. Why? Good films do not slip into the same pitfalls that so many novels do.

Good films do not tell you what a character is thinking. The audience has to make observations of their mood, and draw their own conclusions. Good films do not just launch into backstory. If there are flashbacks they appear as scenes. Good films put the events on display, they don’t just put them into a character’s mouth, and expect you to take their word for it. Good films show and don’t tell.

Writer’s could take a cue from this. Just because our medium allows for free form exposition, that doesn’t mean we should use it.

The limitations of film force it to tell a more compelling story. These are limitations I urge novelists to try to bring to their work in progress.

The above audio blog gets into the nitty gritty of the benefits of watching movies. The background music is like a scary movie score put through a trip-hop filter. I’ve heard it described as electro-goth. If you’re looking for good music to write to, you won’t go wrong with the instrumental version of the song.

Don’t Just Read More, Watch More

camera and book
If you look closely you can read two pages from Joe Hill’s NOS4A2

This entry was inspired by a piece on my friend Rachel’s website celenagaia.wordpress.com. Check it out here. Follow her on Twitter @Raishimi

Writers are always told to read more. Read enough good stories and one might rub off on you. Don’t worry about taking notes. Don’t worry about deconstructing the text. Just read for pleasure and your subconscious will absorb everything in the background. The meaning will be found for you. Take your imagination for a walk and your subconscious will count the steps.

Let the story pass by. Read it on autopilot. Don’t worry about following the plot. The twists will present themselves in due time. You’ll recognize the land marks and feel brilliant once you arrive at your destination.

If writing is the act of sending telepathic messages, then reading is the act of receiving. You have to listen to the language before you can speak it. You have to discover someone else’s voice before you can find your own. You have to turn your internal monologue down and let another’s take over. Continue reading Don’t Just Read More, Watch More