Lately I’m easily… *SQUIRREL!*

December 20, 2013

I’ve been having trouble concentrating lately. Not during important things like reading, writing, or talking to my wife. It’s while watching TV.

I’m an avid fan of television and consume a lot more than I should. Especially while multitasking. My first writing project was a fanfiction staring a post Star Trek: The Next Generation Scotty. I think both television and video games have been greatly underestimated as art and educational. That’s a completely other post however.

Full disclosure, between television, movies, and youtube, I probably watch 30-40 hours a week, most of it while working. I’m a layout artist for the government and can easily multitask without affecting the speed or quality of my work.

All that being said, a lot of shows are having trouble keeping my interest. Most of them are new shows. The particular culprits are Arrow, Sleepy Hollow, Atlantis, Haven, and Grimm. I’d watch them and suddenly find myself looking at my phone or thinking about something else.

I thought it was me until I watched Nightmare on Elmstreet 3. I assumed I would have the same problem but I didn’t. Then I started re-watching Gilmore Girls and again didn’t get distracted.

So what was my problem? Was I bored? No. Were the shows boring? Not really.

I think I’ve come up with a reason. “Pacing” any good action, cop, adventure, or genre show has high levels of tension and action followed by cool-down periods. It’s a structure that’s shared between most of them. It helps to calm the audience or build tension depending on how it’s used.

I think the problem is simply that their cool-down periods are boring me. You know the part where they get ready, or the part where they explain, or the part where they chat about the secondary storyline. It’s just not keeping my interest.

This is an essential part of the story but it doesn’t have to be boring. Look at Castle, it has more witty banter and flirting during these scenes to compensate. Or look at Doctor Who or
Buffy, they do these scenes during running, or flying or while they move to the next thing.

Some shows, like Gilmore Girls, don’t need the ups and downs and keeps to a middle ground tension.

All the shows that keep my interest are seasoned with humour. I think the combination of strong character relationships and humour is what keeps me focused during the slower bits.

In writing, I always try to write something that it interesting and funny, to me, in the cool-downs or build-ups. The hope is that the reader won’t get bored or distracted.

These aren’t bad shows, most of them are still struggling to get their balance or get their balance back. If they were bad, I’d stop watching them.

What about you? Are there shows that just can’t keep your interest? If so what would you like to see them change?

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Buffy Reboot Idea

June 1, 2009

buffy_logoIf you’re a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, either the series or the original movie, than you might have heard that there are talks of a Reboot movie.

Whether you’re outraged at the thought of a Reboot or of Whedon not being involved you must admit that the story has a lot of interesting angles.

If I were to write the new Buffy movie here’s what I’d do: 

Cast:
Buffy Summers: Molly C. Quinn from Castle. She’s a little young but has the acting chops to pull it off.  
Joyce Summers: Amy Adams as the Ju-jitsu instructor/ Anthropologist mother. She normally doesn’t play action roles but would be great with Quinn and could definitely train for it.  
Watcher: Gerard Butler as a non-action geeky “Supernatural” nerd type of watcher.
Villain: Gary Oldman as a brutal and intelligent vampire.
Comic Relief: Andy Serkis and Paul Bettany as overeducated fast talking vampires. 

Storylines:
There would have to be several storylines running through the movie that hasn’t been done before in Buffy history. Within each of the storylines there would be several mini stories.
Main 1: Buffy discovers her powers and as a preppy cheerleader is unprepared for them and is thrust into a dangerous situation. I’d avoid a lot of the high school stuff after she discovers her powers and concentrate on her strained relationship with her mom as she teaches Buffy how to fight.  
Main 2: Villain is trying to kill the slayer. He became a vampire to save his daughter from some disease having to turn her into one too but it didn’t help. He’s been trying to find a cure for her disease. Finds some old book that says the still beating heart of a Slayer cures anything in vampires.
Love: In a twist the love story wouldn’t involve Buffy but her mom and the watcher. Reverse damsel in distress scenario.
Comic: Having most of their clan wiped out by the Villain, our comic reliefs decide to try and help him by catching Buffy but continuously fail. I want to make clear these “clowns” are going to be more of a cheesy/witty comedy that will lend itself to a darker story.

Opening:
I think it would be very important to set the scene with a dark and dirty backdrop in a large city alley where a “traditional” slayer is kicking vampire ass hand to hand. Her watcher looms in the back and as he watches her a shadow comes behind him and slits his neck.

She wins the fight and slays her last foe when she gets shot in the head by a vamp sniper on the roof. The bullet goes through her head and into a propane or natural gas tank. The shadow screams in anger and literally runs up the building towards the sniper and kills the vampire and howls into the night.

Then we go to a cheer practice where Buffy is basically teaching the choreography and doing some things that surprise even her. This is interspersed with scenes of her mom teaching an advanced weapons Jujitsu. Early in the sequence you see a man hiding in the shadows watching Buffy and at the end you see the same man walk up the Joyce and try to stutteringly tell her about Buffy. She of course ignores it and promptly forgets.

Then we’d go to the mother picking up Buffy and them arguing. Something should slip about the Dad being dead (3-4 years.) I really want you to get the feeling that they are all each other have.

Etc etc.

Well that’s my basic idea. What do you think?