March 18, 2011 / 2 Comments

Lucas Syndrome

On the very, very off chance you didn’t know, George Lucas was the writer/ director/ creator of a little seres of movies that went under the header of Star Wars. They sold a ticket or three at the box office. I heard there were even one or two spin-off toys.

Okay, I used to own a bunch of the spin off toys. Almost all of them. Except for the blue Snaggletooth. And the Bespin Leia, who had a weird-looking tiny head.


The first trilogy did very well, as I mentioned. It made tons of money and inspired a whole generation of storytellers to pick up pen, pencil, or home video camera. There was a great piece I read years back about when John Williams created the new Star Wars orchestra for the prequel movies. There were half a dozen musicians in it who had been part of his original orchestra twenty years earlier. It also had about a dozen younger musicians, all of whom had gotten into classical music because they were inspired by Williams’s score from the original trilogy. And now they were all working on the prequels.

Ahhhh, the prequels.

The prequels were not quite as well-received. Oh, fans were in a frenzy at first. I know. I was there in the line at Toys R Us for the special midnight releases. After the first movie, though, that energy ebbed a bit. After the second movie it was leaking away. By the final film, the fan base was bleeding out, to turn a phrase. There were still some die-hards, but there were far more shrieking about how Lucas had “raped their childhood.”

So, what went wrong?

Well, you could point at a lot of things. Wooden dialogue. Bad direction. A gluttonous use of decent-but-not-great CGI. Any one of these can hurt a film, but I don’t think they’re killers on their own. I think the biggest mistake Lucas made with his prequel was the unavoidable one.

He told a story we already knew.

Let me pause at this point for a funny story…

Many years back I went home to New England to see my family. My mom and I decided to go take in a movie, and the big one at the time (no pun intended) was James Cameron’s Titanic. I hadn’t seen it, she hadn’t seen it, what the heck.

Well, we all know the story. Big ship. Bigger iceberg. We were maybe two-thirds through the film and there’s that awful bit when Leonardo’s working-class buddy grabs a life preserver and hurls himself out into the icy water. He’s paddling away from the cries and howls and there’s this ear-splitting crack. The cables are snapping on the smokestacks. One of the huge towers creaks, tilts, and swings down over the water. Nameless friend of Leo (oh, come on–none of you remember his name, either) looks up as the smokestack blots out the sky and comes crashing down on top of him.

The audience wailed. People were already blubbering and misty eyed, but when Leo’s buddy was killed, well, that was the breaking point. Audience members were sobbing and crying out to the screen.

In the midst of all this, my mom turns to me and says, in a very loud, clear voice…

“What did they think was going to happen? It’s the Titanic, for Christ’s sake!”

So here’s problem one. As I’ve mentioned before, you can’t have drama or conflict in a story if the outcome is never in doubt. When we know what’s going to happen, it’s very, very easy for a story to veer off into boredom, melodrama, or both.

Not only that, but when we’ve already seen chapters thirty through fifty, we don’t want to go back to chapters one through ten. That’s moving backwards. We want to be going forward. You may notice that with much of the recent coverage of the crises in Japan, no one’s going back to do a retrospective on the Tokugawa shogunate of the 17th century. It’s an important part of Japanese history. It has a fair degree to do with why thing are the way they are in Japan today. But we really don’t need to know it to understand why a trio of nuclear reactors are being stabilized with hoses and buckets.

Now, in all fairness, and with all deference to my mother, Cameron’s Titanic is not about the ship. It’s a story of, if you’ll pardon the phrase, two star-crossed lovers which uses the disaster as a backdrop. The Titanic is no different than the feud between the Capulets and the Montagues or the impending gang war between the Sharks and the Jets. Can we even call that a war? The impending dance-off between the Sharks and the Jets. These are the plot elements that let the reader know from the start just how doomed this relationship probably is.

See, that’s the catch. We all know what happens to the Titanic. It’s a historic fact. We don’t know what happens to Leo and Kate, though. Will they survive? Will they die together? Apart? Will she live to be a middle-class ninety-year-old and toss a diamond worth a billion dollars into the depths of the Arctic Ocean as a meaningless gesture to her spring break fling who died three-quarters of a century ago?

Probably not that last one, because that would just be silly.

It’s the rest of those questions that make the story worth telling. I’ve talked about the problem with god-like forces in a story, and history is one of the most powerful ones out there (unless you happen to be a Time Lord…). If I know for a fact that character A survives until chapter thirty, it’s very difficult to get worried when she’s threatened in chapter three.

Obi-Wan Kenobi. Anakin Skywalker. Padme. R2-D2 and C-3P0. Yoda. Palpantine. Chewbacca. Bail Organa. The fate of every one of these characters was well-established twenty years ago in the original trilogy. Lucas asked us to make an emotional investment in characters we were already emotionally invested in. He asked us to worry about the future of characters whose future we already knew.

To be honest… that’s just plain boring.

This is the big challenge with any sort of “prequel” writing and it’s why a lot of these works tend to ring a bit hollow when all is said and done. To be honest, it’s one of the reasons I haven’t been all that interested in writing prequel stories for any of the characters in the Ex-Heroes universe. It’s also why The Nativity Story didn’t really work as a two hour feature film. We know what happens to these characters, so anything that happens in the story is automatically going to get robbed of some or all of its dramatic weight.

So, the burning question is… how do you make a prequel story work?

It’s not that hard, if you think about it. Don’t focus on events. We know the events. We know what’s going to happen. So that’s a dead end right there.

No, the secret to a good prequel is the characters. Don’t tell me about the guy I already know. Tell me about the other guy who was there. For example, we all know what happened to Abraham Lincoln that fateful night at Ford’s Theater. But what about the people sitting behind him? What about the security men on duty? Were they injured? Wracked with guilt afterwards? Secretly pleased? We don’t know the answers, so those are interesting questions.

You may have seen either the original version of The Clone Wars cartoon or the newer one that’s run for a couple seasons now. It’s very popular. It also focuses more on characters like Mace Windu, Cad Bane, and Kit Fisto–characters we don’t know that much about.

If only all the prequels had done the same.

Next time… well, I think we’ve finally come to the end.

Until then, go write.

Warp core breach! Warp core breach!

Is it just me or does Starfleet build really shoddy warp cores? “Oh my God, Ensign Lefler spilled her coffee! We have an imminent warp core breach…”

Anyway, I’ve blathered on about linear structure and then about narrative structure. Now I want to talk about how they interact and tie together. It isn’t really that complicated an idea, but I’m going to use a few examples to make things extra-clear.

As I mentioned before, narrative structure and linear structure are two very different things. The narrative structure is the story the audience is experiencing while the linear structure is what the characters are experiencing. Today I’d like to talk about how they work together, but to do that I need to talk about a third part, and that’s dramatic structure.

Dramatic structure stands a bit off from the other two. It’s an inherent quality of the story that comes about when the linear and narrative work together correctly. Probably the best way to look at it is that this story needs to be told this way to have the impact the storyteller was going for.

For example…

Spoilers, by the way, but if you don’t know this one by now… c’mon, seriously.

The Sixth Sense is the story of Bruce Willis, the ghost of a child psychologist who’s helping a little boy come to terms with the fact that he can see ghosts.

Hmmmm… Well that’s kind of lame when you tell it like that, isn’t it? Sound like some kind of Hallmark/ Lifetime/ Afterschool Special sort of story. And to be blunt, it is. If The Sixth Sense was structured that way, telling you everything up front, it would be a very different story, even with all the same events and dialogue.

In fact, that’s probably the best way to look at it. Dramatic structure is why spoilers are cool in a story, but kind of lame when your friends blurt them out or you read them on websites (sorry, AICN). It’s why a lot of screenwriters and directors don’t like to talk too much about some story elements ahead of time, and why they get frustrated with publicists who do.

So… that being said, what I’d like to do now is show you a graph. I don’t really believe in graphs and charts and page counts when it comes to storytelling. I do believe they can make a handy visual aide now and then, though.

This one cost IBM seven-point-six million dollars. It’s the real reason they built Watson. The whole Jeopardy thing was just a fortunate side-effect.

On this chart, the horizontal axis is the narrative. It’s the book from page one to page five hundred, or the movie from opening shot to closing credits. The vertical line is, to coin a phrase, tension. It can represent kickass action scenes or romantic conflicts or scariness or just tension built from suspense.

Very, very simply put, this is dramatic structure. Going from the norm to the extreme. Starting at calm and relaxed only to end at DefCon5. Even if it’s just an emotional/ spiritual DefCon5.

A good story is a series of waves or peaks on this chart. Each one represents a different challenge your characters encounter. The high points are triumphs and peaks of action. The low points are setbacks they suffer between, or perhaps because of, each success.

This first chart is an average day in anyone’s life. To be honest, it’s my life. You can pick out me getting woken up out of a dream by my cats. There I am on the treadmill. That’s where I discovered we were out of Diet Pepsi and the Britta filter was empty. For a good chunk of it I’m sitting here at my desk writing. There’s watching Chuck and making dinner with my lovely lady and catching the end of that Castle two-parter with the dirty bomb. As you can see, nothing horrible, but nothing life-changing, either.

For the record, everyday life is dull. This may have come up here before. It’s boring because we all see it every day. No matter how perfectly or beautifully or eloquently that everyday life is copied to paper or movie screen, it’s still boring. The chart proves it. Ordinary life is pretty darn close to a straight line.

Now, here’s something else important to keep in mind. If your characters never suffer any setbacks (and you’d be amazed how many stories and scripts I’ve seen with this problem) you don’t have waves, you have another line. Likewise, if your story is nothing but an ongoing string of defeats and failures (which tends to go with “artistic” writing), that’s just another straight line, too. And let’s face it, lines are flat and boring. It’s the same thing as having nothing but “cool” dialogue. It gets monotonous fast.

This brings me to the next part of good dramatic structure. As the story progresses, those waves and peaks should be getting taller, every one a little more than the last. They are, in fact, building on each other, just like a good story should. Likewise, the troughs between them should get deeper and deeper. The height of the waves is a good measure of the tension level the characters are facing. The troughs are the level of failure or setback they’re encountering.

Going back to our very expensive graph, there’s a reason dramatic structure works this way. If my story’s waves are always five up and five down, they cancel each other out. The all winning/ all losing lines are boring, yes, but you really don’t want that line to be at zero. Each victory should lift the hero (and the reader) a little higher and a little further, just as each setback should send them reeling a bit harder.

Because of this, you shouldn’t have two peaks which are the same height, especially not right next to each other. If this challenge is equal to that challenge, then the writer hasn’t built anything up in the pages between them. When you see two peaks that carry the same emotional/ action/ suspense/ horror weight, you should stop and think. One of them either doesn’t need to be there or it needs to be lessened/ increased a bit. Again, when things are the same, it’s monotonous.

It’s also worth mentioning that these all need to be valid challenges. A writer can’t fabricate an unmotivated conflict or three just so the character has a challenge. Pirate attacks are cool. Pirates who attack out of nowhere just to create an action sequence are not, no matter how much the writer tries to convince readers the attack is a vital, integral part of the story. This is a common flaw you can spot in a lot of old pulp writing, because the format required multiple cliffhangers, each at a regimented spot in the story. The story would be going along and suddenly the hero or heroine would encounters a wild animal or a booby trap or find him/herself at gunpoint. There was no logic to it, it just had to happen because we’re on page 42.

So, keeping all of this in mind, I’m going to go for the big one… This is the one would-be writers mess up all the time. It’s not going to be easy, but hey… if it was, everyone’d be doing it.

Dramatic structure always wins in the end. No matter what the linear structure of your story is, no matter which narrative structure you’re using, the dramatic structure of a story should always be escalating. You can have setbacks, but all the motion has to be forward and the net gain has to be positive (positive meaning building on itself, not necessarily happy and cheerful). As I’ve said many, many times before, telling the story has to be a writer’s first priority. The narrative structure must match the dramatic structure.


You may have caught up above, the linear structure doesn’t have to follow this pattern of escalation. In fact, it’s very powerful when it doesn’t. Well, when it doesn’t and you’re doing everything else right… Linear structure can start huge and then decline for the rest of the story. It can have a high point in the middle or the biggest low right in the beginning.

Let’s use The Sixth Sense again so I don’t have to spoil anything else. Bruce Willis’s death is a major emotional moment. If we were to plot it out, it’d be pretty high on our chart. It also comes very early in the linear structure. However, it’s revealed very late in the narrative structure. So his death comes at the correct point in the dramatic structure and fits the above pattern.

With me so far?

How about this. Let me be arrogant and use my own book. Ex-Heroes has nine major flashbacks in it, each one a full chapter long. However, each one follows the same dramatic structure. The flashbacks are increasing in tension even as the present day “Now” plot is increasing in tension.

See, here’s the rough linear structure of Ex-Heroes. It begins with the rise of the heroes, followed by the rise of the zombies. About halfway through, you can see the peak of the outbreak where humanity falls and Stealth and St. George found the Mount. The narrative begins on page one of the book and around L on the graph. Once you look at these two sections (past and present) at the same time, with all the flashbacks happening where they do in the story, you see that the entire narrative fits the dramatic structure. I told a story with the linear structure I needed for the narrative structure I wanted to use, which gave me a solid dramatic structure.

Make sense?

Let’s take a look at another chart. Yeah, IBM paid all that money, we should keep using them. This one’s where things go wrong, though.

It’s that exact same linear A through T story from up above, but now I’ve decided to tell it with a flash-forward near the beginning and a flashback just before the big climax. Look carefully– it’s all the same points, just in a new order.

See, in this example, all the structures are fighting each other. This is a story where the linear structure already matched the dramatic structure, so this new narrative structure doesn’t work. The dramatic structure’s broken, and this usually means the writer has broken the story’s flow. And we all know that’s bad.

When you look at it like this, it’s easy to see why too many frames and flashbacks start to make a jumbled mess of things when they get overused. Suppose my linear structure is that standard A though T again, which means my dramatic structure is, too. Look what happens when randomly rearrange these story points into something like our now-classic Mnbv Cxzlkjhgf Dsapoiuy Trewq order. The dramatic waves become a jagged, roller-coaster mess of different highs and lows that’s impossible to keep track of.

To be more specific, the whole thing becomes static.

And static’s just another word for noise we all ignore.

Y’see, Timmy, this is why so many would-be gurus take the easy route and say never to use flashbacks or any other narrative devices. Far too many writers will throw in a flashback (or two or three or five or…) that explains something in the story but doesn’t fit the dramatic structure. The fact gets out, but the story grinds to a halt in the process. Heck, sometimes you don’t even get a vital fact, just a bunch of random over-description that’s supposed to pass as character stuff. So gurus and other “experts” will tell you to avoid frames and flashbacks because it’s easier to say “don’t” then to explain how to use them correctly.

Which, hopefully, I just did. For free, no less. Even with all those high-end graphs.

Next time… well, after all this, I need to relax a bit. I’ll probably just harp on spelling again or something like that.

Until then, go write.

February 25, 2011 / 3 Comments

Previously on SPLICED

If you don’t get this week’s title, don’t worry. No one does. One of those lost gems of animation.

Anyway, last week was all about linear structure, so this week I wanted to explain narrative structure. Linear structure is all about the characters, but narrative structure is about the audience, be they readers or listeners or movie-goers.

By the way…

Minbv Cyxzlkjhguf Dosap Trewq

Try to remember that. It’s going to be important.

I mentioned last week that a story always needs a beginning, a middle, and an end. However, they don’t always need to come in that order. Ex-Heroes and the upcoming Ex-Patriots each have almost a dozen major flashbacks to a period before the beginning of each respective novel. A Princess of Mars begins with the frame story of Edgar Rice Burroughs inheriting a manuscript from his recently-deceased uncle, John Carter, and the film Inception starts with the frame of a battered and ragged Cobb washing up on the shore of an old man’s private island. Clive Barker’s Sacrament dives into an extended flashback that dominates the middle of the book, as does the classic film Casablanca. Everyone remembers Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction for its wonderful non-linear story and he also loaded the Kill Bill movies with flashbacks. Heck, the film Memento actually runs its story backwards.

By the way, don’t get confused by my talk of linear structure and non-linear stories. You can still get french fries even though you’re not in France, and you still need linear structure even though you’re telling a non-linear story.

Now, there are some important things to remember with narrative structure.

First off, if narrative structure and linear structure aren’t going to match up in a story, there should be a real reason why the story’s being told that way. Is there no way this information could come out except in a flashback? Is there a purpose to cutting back and forth between past, present, and future? Is this structure advancing the story or bogging it down with unnecessary segues?

There was a passable Denzel Washington movie a while back called Fallen. In all fairness, it was a great movie that got dragged down because the lead actor kept doing a Denzel Washington impression through the whole thing. I’m about to spoil the ending, so if you haven’t seen it and have any interest… skip down a paragraph or two.

Fallen begins with Denzel in his death throes. He’s thrashing around in the snow and clawing the air. His voice over tells us (paraphrasing a bit)…

“Lemme tell you about the time I almost died. Actually let me start a little before that…”

At which point the film leaps back in time about a week to Detective Denzel attending the execution of a serial killer. A serial killer who, it turns out, is actually possessed by a demon. And by the end of the film, said demon has possessed Denzel. The frame sets up the audience for a twist— it hasn’t been the detective narrating, and it wasn’t him dying. It’s the demon, trapped by the detective’s final act. Without the frame, there’s no twist.

In my book, Ex-Heroes, every third or fourth chapter is a flashback. This serves two purposes. One, since it’s already a shift in the narrative, it also let me shift the viewpoint to first person. It also lets me tell another aspect of the story. While the main plot of Ex-Heroes is about living in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse, it’s also important to know how this all came about. So shifting into the past let me develop a few key characters and it let me see some important events through their eyes.

A bit more on that next week.

The narrative also has to be readable. That sounds kind of common-sense, I know, but one problem that crops up a lot is writers taking that non-linear inch and running a few miles with it. Since I can go a bit non-linear, I can push the envelope and go a little more, and then a little more, and then…

Remember that sentence up above I told you to remember? Do you know what it means? Well, it’s not a sentence, it’s just the alphabet out of order. But it kind of looks like a sentence, and I’m willing to bet a few of you spent a moment trying to decode it (is it backwards writing? Serbian? Roman numerals?) without much luck.

Y’see, Timmy, there comes a point when a writer has broken up the narrative with so many flashbacks, recollections, and frames-within-frames that they’ve just got gibberish. Oh, sure, if you spent twenty minutes or so studying that first example you would’ve all eventually figured out it was the alphabet. I don’t doubt that at all. The same could be said about any number of non-linear books or screenplays. Given enough time, a spreadsheet program, and a bottle of rum, most of us can make sense of just about any story.

But no one wants to read a story like that. I don’t think any of you read this ongoing series of rants with the hope that someday you’ll understand what I’m talking about. You read it because you want to understand something now, not for me to show off by giving you an incomprehensible puzzle of verbs and nouns to work out over the next week or so. So while it’s okay to mix a story up a bit, at the end of the day your audience has to be able to follow the story. Flashbacks and frames are great, but, like so many things, need to be used responsibly and with moderation.

I got to interview Bruce Joel Rubin, an Academy Award-winning screenwriter, a while back. During our talk, he made the keen observation that stories, especially film stories, are experienced through the gut, not through the mind. The moment your audience has to go into their head to understand a story–you’ve lost them. It shatters the flow and brings them out of experiencing the story and into, on some level, analyzing it. So the last thing you want is so many non-linear elements that the reader has to stop for each one and figure out how it relates to the last twenty or thirty.

And really, this is what I’m going to talk about next week. Linear and narrative structure need to work together, not fight each other.

So, until then, go write something.

October 22, 2009 / 3 Comments

Nudity in Casablanca

Right off, before I forget, check out Live to Write Another Day over there in the right-hand column. It’s the blog of a friend of mine where she offers tips, suggestions, and recipes for folks trying to survive the life of a starving writer. I only make such a blatant plug because she asked me to contribute a recipe and let me put up some photos from my trip to Egypt. So go learn how to make koshari, save yourselves a few bucks, and look cultured doing it.

But back to the business at hand…
While I’m sure several of you saw this title and immediately started scrolling for the Ingrid Bergman pictures, I’m afraid this week’s topic is a bit more subtle than that. Plus, I’m still figuring out how to post pictures.
So, what better way to discuss subtlety than to once again fall back on the world of Star Trek for an example.
The original series and Next Generation each had similar first season episodes that were linked between the two shows. You may not know them by title, but even a casual viewer would remember the stories. The Enterprise crew(s) is infected with a virus that loosens inhibitions leading to constant displays of laziness, lust, and even savagery. You may recall a shirtless Sulu with a fencing foil, or perhaps Tasha Yar in some bizarre casual wear trying to seduce Data. The original series did the story about two months in. Next Generation did their version the second week they were on the air. These episodes were “The Naked Time” and “The Naked Now.”
All well and good, you’re saying, but this is not the nudity I tuned in to see.
Y’see, Timmy, in both of these cases, the point of the story was to give us a better glimpse at who all these characters were beneath our first impressions. What were they really like at the core. Were they lonely? Repressed? Hiding awful secrets? Those first impressions are very important, don’t get me wrong, but we all know what catches our attention is the stuff underneath. A quick glimpse of bare skin is always far more fascinating than the most elaborate and inspiring outerwear.
So, since I’ve already established the nudity I’m speaking of is metaphorical, not literal (and actually watched the hit counter go down now that I’ve clarified it), what does this have to do with Casablanca? Well, Casablanca is a very famous film which is not chronological. On the off chance you haven’t seen it (in which case you should have another window open to your Netflix queue right now) there’s a very large flashback smack in the middle. The story rolls back the clock several years to Paris, just as the Germans were invading, and it’s immediately striking to the audience what a different character Rick is at this point. He’s laughing, charismatic, generous–the complete opposite of the man we’ve come to know in the first hour of the movie. We get to find out what happened between him and Elsa to make him become that man, and we realize the kind of person he could’ve been if things had gone a different way. It’s probably one of the most memorable flashbacks in cinematic history.
The only reason this sequence has that kind of dramatic weight, however, is because it’s not at the beginning of the story. There’s a reason it’s in the middle. It’s so we can meet Rick the bitter, sullen drunk and so he and Elsa can have all those subtle looks and sharp words. If we already knew why he was like that, about the relationship between them, or how she had crushed his heart, it would’ve changed everything.
One mistake I see quite often, in books and scripts, though, is that aspiring writers try to front-load their characters. I learn everything there is to learn about Wakko in the first seven paragraphs after he’s been introduced, or his first five minutes on screen, so there’s nothing to learn later. Which means Wakko is only going to have a surface-interest for most people for the rest of the story. To fall back on the nudity metaphor, it’s hard to be titillated an hour in when we got to see everything right up front. What excites us and gets us anxious is waiting for it. To put it even crasser, sometimes putting out on the first date leads to something, but more often than not it doesn’t.
Part of the reason this approach fails is it goes against our instincts as people. Throughout our lives we’ve all met people, but we rarely learn everything about them all at once. I’m sure most of us have had one or two of those “and we talked for six or seven hours” conversations, but even those are stretched out across time and they also don’t cover everything. More to the point, we’ve also had that uncomfortable situation where someone we’ve just met starts telling us way too much information about themselves. In real life and in fiction, getting all sorts of information right at the start just feels unnatural.
Here’s another great example. One or two of you may have seen a little movie called Pitch Black. There’s an early scene when the mass- murderer named Riddick is handcuffed to a pole in the crashed ship and escapes in a… well, it’s a very memorable way. Especially because of the sounds. I won’t ruin it for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but needless to say it establishes–without a single line of dialogue–how very determined Riddick can be once he sets his mind to something. His character is solidly defined in that one scene. Everyone who’s seen it knows exactly which moment I’m talking about, it’s that perfect.
However, it isn’t his only defining scene. There’s one much later on, a quieter moment when he explains his religious views to another survivor of the crash. This time around, there are hints that Riddick wasn’t always so kick-ass and vicious, and that as low as he may seem now, he’s actually dragged himself up in the world. If this tiny bit of backstory had come out when Riddick was introduced, it would’ve been melodramatic at best, and at worst would’ve gotten the script tossed in that big pile on the left. It’s more powerful later because we’ve come to known the character one way and are now being shown there’s even more to him. The first bit makes us like the character (for one reason or another) but it’s the second bit that helps make him memorable.
I’m going to end this with two observations made by friends of mine about other forms of art. First is Dave, who was an incredibly skilled painter I knew in high school. This guy could’ve been doing book covers at age seventeen, and as it turns out he was a big fan of doing the Boris Vallejo-type paintings, the ones with bronzed women in chainmail bikinis that make Xena’s outfits look like a parka. When I asked him why he didn’t just do nudes, he smirked and said “Nudity isn’t sexy. It’s what you don’t see that gets you turned on.”
The second observation was from Brad, who was my boss on a long-ago martial arts show called Vanishing Son, the first television series I ever worked on. We were on set one day talking about a recent X-Files episode and a beautiful lighting-camera trick they’d pulled to get around standards and practices, allowing them to show a brutal murder on screen. I lamented the fact that we never did anything as clever, even though our show was loaded with such potential moments.
“It’s because all we do here is porn,” sighed Brad. “Doesn’t matter what kind of show it is. Porn is when you show everything. That’s all anyone here knows how to do.”
So, mull on that until next week.
Speaking of which, next week is Halloween! Or close enough, yes? A good time to talk about some scary stuff.
Until then, go write.