Writer’s Block

Writer’s block. The scourge of any author since the dawn of time, and one of those pesky annoyances you just can’t figure out how to get rid of. I am no exception… As a matter of fact, I probably get it more often than others do… In this post I’ll try to explain what I think writer’s block really is… and maybe even why it’s caused…

Writer’s block, I believe, is not a temporary incapability to write well… In my general opinion I believe it to be an obstacle which prevents the successful organization of one’s thoughts so that that individual’s ideas can be put down onto the page… In other words, the individual stricken with writer’s block has a hard time sifting through their thoughts and getting them ordered up correctly, which results in chaos in the writer’s mind and leads to that writer getting only a meager number of words written down before giving up for a while. It’s happened to me more often than not… Some sessions of writing I get a plethora of words down, but sometimes I receive just the opposite.

So why does writer’s block come about? Why do our ideas get cluttered in our mind? Is it because we are thinking too much or too little, or is it that our other activities and doings in the world bring so many thoughts into our head that our brain just can’t get them organized very quickly so we can access them without much trouble? I personally think it is the latter… Sometimes our brain just needs a break for awhile, especially after doing innumerous activities for a long period of time… When we intake so many things into our brain, it is simply impossible for our mind to immediately order our thoughts into rank and file… Thus the reason why writer’s block is only temporary… Eventually everything gets set properly into place and our ideas start to flow smoothly onto the page once again.

It’s only an observation, of course. I am, in no way, suggesting that this is the definition for writer’s block…  But, being a constant sufferer of this plague of the mind, I figured I may as well get something posted about it…

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Sonny with a Chance (You Guessed Right… Another Disney Channel Show) and Jonas

Again I return to the infamous topic of Disney Channel, one that, as I said before, I would be periodically returning to. Now, I intend to fulfill that promise.

At the beginning of the Summer (or perhaps earlier, I can’t remember), an advertisement on Disney Channel came out, repeatedly blaring “Sonny with a Chance! The newest Disney Channel Show! Premiering Friday!” Naturally we decided that we should at least watch the first episode to see what we thought of it, so we did. We weren’t let down.

The show both had moral and humor, the latter being in abundance. But aside from those facts, the humor in the show was actually fairly good when compared to other mediocre Disney Channel shows. We were pleasantly surprised and continued watching it.

But, as with most simple pleasantries, the goodness of that show was not to last. As the series progressed it became more ridiculous than ever, inevitably falling into the same “dating is everything” trap and “the more ridiculous the show is the better” pitfall. The humor started to dissolve into mindlessness that felt uncomfortable to watch, which is the worst kind of comedy in existence. You don’t want to feel uncomfortable when you’re watching a comedy, especially when it’s one that’s bordering on the edge of overflowing ridiculousness.

Maybe a month or two after Sonny with a Chance premiered, the first episode of Jonas was aired. Now at the time we hadn’t liked nor disliked the Jonas brothers, but when we started to watch the show a bit, we began to realize that they were fairly decent Christian people and that their family values seemed uncorrupted by the putrescence of Hollywood. At least, that’s what the Disney Channel videos show, anyway…

Unfortunately decent Disney Channel shows are starting to become an endangered species. Even the later episodes of Wizards of Waverly place are starting to dumb down the adults, and an example of which can be seen in the first episode of the new series when the dad mistook the correct spelling of a word as a “misspelling”.

It appears to me that Disney Channel has finally decided to throw away all thoughts of making decent entertainment and started focusing only on raking in as much dough as possible. Or, has that always been their goal?

The Princess Bride

This week I have been reading a book entitled The Princess Bride. It was written by William Goldman in the 1970s but passed off as an original story by S. Morgenstern (Goldman’s pen-name), and I must say it is one of the more interesting books I’ve read.

Where does its interesting qualities come from? I’d have to say from Goldman’s wit, which is astounding… Not only is his writing and portions of his story ridiculous in some places, but he also adds humor outside of the story itself. How does he pull this off? By passing the story The Princess Bride as one written by S. Morgenstern, Goldman creates the illusion that he abridged portions of Morgenstern’s work, cutting out several of the lengthy parts and then publishing the book as an edition known as the “good parts” version (which, by the way, is the only book you can get… there is no unabridged work). But here’s the catch… The portions that Goldman cut from the book never existed to begin with… It was all a ruse for humor’s sake, and every single one of Goldman’s intrusions into the story about why he cut something out was fake as well. Funny, yes, but was I pleased with myself? Of course not. I had thought that Goldman was being serious, and, when I figured out it was all a practical joke, I wasn’t sure what, if anything, I could believe of Goldman’s work.

But I’m not sure if he wanted to be taken seriously; and if that was his goal, then he did a very good job of it. And yet, despite his lightheartedness, there are glimmers of truth and honor in his story as well… They may be few and far between, but they’re there. Especially in Inigo and Fezzik, two characters who Goldman within a very short time creates emotional bondage to… Inigo perhaps being the lesser of the two candidates for characters the audience cares about most. But that’s just my opinion, of course.

All in all, this book is a very good read. It’s a little rough around the edges, but when you get down to it, it’s one of the more inventive stories in modern literature. Goldman’s wit and satire shine in The Princess Bride, and I can fairly confidently say that it is a recommendable read.

Making a Movie (Part III): Post-Production

Here begins Part III in the three part saga “Making a Movie”.

Post production began about a month after the movie was filmed in its entirety. Every single clip we needed had been shot and now it was just a matter of putting it all together and adding the finishing touches to it. All in all it was a fairly smooth road, but even the least-bumpy of roads can have potholes here and there.

The real trouble wasn’t in the editing portion of it… That, in itself, was straightforward. The real problem began when the DVDs needed to be burned. Time after time I attempted to get the DVDs burned, realizing, only when they were finally on DVD, that there was something I had forgotten to do, such as add in text. For a week I went through this, staying up late one or two nights and getting up early a few mornings to get everything burned, but little avail came from my hard work.

At least that’s what I thought during the worst parts of it. Eventually, however, I managed to get everything onto a DVD and I handed out a copy to those who worked on the movie with us. And I must say, seeing a project like that that you had started several months ago finally on screen is a wonderful feeling. I couldn’t help but think “We have to do this again” or “I bet we can make the next one even better!”. And, to no one’s surprise, I’m sure, we’re already working on the script for our next movie which, I hope, will be even better than the last one.

In conclusion, this entire process was absolutlely wonderful. Not only did we get a movie out of it, but we strengthened friendships, learned a lot about making movies, and had an all around enjoyable time. Despite some bumps in the road, which, gladly, were few and far between, we completed something great, something worthwhile. Yes, we. No man or woman alive can make a movie alone… This was a team effort; one that I will never forget.

This thus concludes the saga “Making a Movie”.

Making a Movie (Part II): Filming

Here begins part two in the three part saga “Making a Movie”.

It took quite some time of planning things out before we were able to get everyone together to start filming. Everyone was excited and most had already donned their movie costumes and were ready to start filming. After a quick prayer, we filmed the first scene.

I knew that this was going to be a huge project to work on and that in no way possible it was going to be an easy feat. And for sure it wasn’t, especially when we got to Scene II. This scene had a huge amount of dialogue in it, particular story-related dialogue that had to be related clearly to the audience, lest they be lost in confusion. It must have taken a half-hour to film that scene, but the end product was astounding.

Scene III was fairly straight forward, but Scene IV was another difficult scene. That was due largely in part, again, to the fact that there was a lot of important information that, if the audience didn’t receive, would cause the story to become disorganized and make the movie less pleasant for the audience to watch because they would have to, rather than enjoying the movie, strain to understand what in the world was going on. But that scene, after another half- hour of filming, went by very smoothly and also became a great addition to the film.

Perhaps the second most difficult scenes were the fighting scenes which were mostly at the end. For the most part we improvised the fights and just made sure we knew where we were going, but other times we had to plan every step out because the scene had to be that way. One scene that comes to mind was one where the protagonists attempted to retake their castle from the hands of the Goblins. First off, we didn’t have a castle, so we had to base the scene in our backyard, and second, we had to figure out how to make it look like the heroes were entering the courtyard of the castle. To top that off, we also had to involve some level of fighting in the scene as they endeavored to break into the courtyard through force-of-arms. This scene must have taken forty-five minutes to complete. I can recall probably doing two or three “fake-actions” as we called it when we weren’t actually filming before we really started getting some shots.

All and all, it was a wonderful experience. There were some occasional rough spots, but the filming process went so well we continual called it “movie magic”. I especially enjoyed working with all the great people who were willing to put both time and effort into this sizeable project. Not only are they motivated individuals, they’re also some of my very close friends. God bless and thanks for your willingness to work so hard on the movie, guys. Those are memories I’ll never forget.

In the next part I’ll be going over the “Post-Production” stage of the movie, which had to be the second most aggrivating part of the entire movie-making process. You’ll see why in Part III…