Feed Addictions

I’ve been watching a lot of video games, lately.

And it’s an amazing nostalgia.

If you didn’t know my origin story – the short version is that I was video game geek who wore colorful socks turned into a buffed out, bald, bearded grown man.

Video games were my jam – I even to school for it, briefly, and now I’m going into marketing as a career, cause I love to sell and write, and am on Twitter like a mad man.

So, now I just watch video games on Youtube, and recently I finished watching God of War and Fortnite.

And given my marketing knowledge – I saw a big idea in video game design that is good for marketers.

The big idea is to make your product/ service/ idea addicting.

God of War – designwise is freaking good cause it’s addicting (besides the amazing story, acting, etc, etc).

It’s so addicting – that after watching a video, I found myself saying Kratos’ dialogue like – Boy!

Or performing his actions (the man throws his axe around a lot.

Like this –

God of War 4

Man, I used do that when I was a kid…. Acted out certain characters…

… Anyway, the more I watch – the more addicted I become. I can’t get enough.

God of War sold me, hard.

Just because of it’s addicting nature.

The best products do this – iPhones, cigarettes, cars,  grass fed burgers, etc.

That’s what I try to do with my personality, writing, and ideas.

I try to find an addiction and feed it – again and again and again.

Cause that’s what lasts.

 

 

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Always Be Funny – The Male Protagonist in 2018

So, I was just on Twitter talking about the new God of War video game, which I’m watching via YouTube.

I love this damn game. It’s amazing.

But I did notice something about the main character – Kratos.

Dude is uber serious. Never crack jokes. Never smiles.

Even Wired wrote a piece on Kratos – and his appetite for violence, claiming that’s he’s toxic.

I disagree. I think Kratos is just a personality type. Strong, but silent type. A warrior. And that’s the thing with the personality type – they don’t think, they just do. Tough, stoic.

Much like the John Waynes, Clint Eastwoods of the old Westerns, which I love.

These characters don’t talk much, quick to anger, disagreeable, grumpy, strong, leaders, and blaze their own lane.

They’re my favorite type of characters. Which seems to be a relic, nowadays.

I hardly ever see those type of characters anymore. When I was growing up, you had characters like Blade, Leonidas from 300, Mel Gibson, greek myth movies, war movies of the 80s.

Those types were all over.

Nowadays, the main characters have to be funny. I call them the “Woody Allen” types.

Male characters, to me, are pushed to be funny. Even the brawny ones.  I saw Thor Ragnarok a while back. And while I liked it a lot – it’s pretty funny – I think it’s kinda weird to have these big, hulking guys cracking jokes.

I was thinking – Would John Wayne approve?

Cause sometimes I like serious. I like my toxic masculinity. I like my grumpiness. My disagreeableness. My beard. It’s what I’m drawn too.

Action, violence, competitiveness.

Girls like talk shows, feel good stuff.

Men like sports, and violence.

There’s nothing wrong with that, you know?

 

Movies + Video Games Are Ideals

I’m patiently waitin’ to view the new God of War video game on Youtube. I stopped playin’ video games four years ago … But…

You know those cool walk throughs? Yeah, they’re dope.

I sometimes watch them when I wanna get some new storytellin’ ideas.

Have you seen a new video game lately? They’re bananas. The graphics are butter now. Smooth, creamy, delicious.

Oh, boy – as I’m writing this – I thinkin’ bout pancakes and bacon, ugh.

So, for the God of War video games, the creators re did a lot of things. Firstly, the main character – Kratos.

He’s really… matured – he’s now a dad, has a full beard, and a bald head. Instead of being a wild womanizer. He still has a bad, bad temper, though.

Sounds cool, right?

This got me thinkin’ – Movies and Video games – through storytellin’ – are tryin’ to sell consumers ideals. An ideal to live up to.

If you look at Kratos, he’s perfect. Perfect body, beard, weapons, fightin’ ability.

In commercials, dudes are shredded and the girls are thin.

In superheroes, the main characters are buffed out & crazy strong.

Now, most people in their life never achieve that level of fitness – at all.

Why?

Takes too long. Too hard. Etc, etc.

But these are the things that people want. And is what self improvement is built on.

Gettin’ the better body, better relationships, more money, a nicer house or car, a better degree, etc.

Self improvement is bout seein’ the ideal on the screen, and addin’ it to your life – no matter how it takes.

Could take a day, could take 20 years.

Doesn’t matter.

These ideals are what life is about. Strive for something greater. Anything.

Why?

Cause it makes life crazy more fulfilling.

That’s why you should try to your best to live up to that ideal as much as possible.

Go for it.

Skinny Chick Beats Up A Bunch Of Big Dudes – Wild Times!

So, I saw Atomic Blonde last week. You know of the film?

Starrin’ Charlize Theron?

Yeah – I, personally, am in love with this movie. I’ve already seen it twice. And am thinkin’ bout seein’ it ‘gain.

You do know the story, right?

If not – here’s the quick rundown – Charlize is a spy and she has to find a list that is super valuable to the government. Along the way there a whole lot of twists n’ turns, a bunch of action, an’ even a lil’ romance. Oh, an’ it’s set in the 80s with 80s music attached. (one of my favorite musical periods).

Few movies have me leavin’ the theatre, thinkin’ bout it well into the night. But this one made think bout the cool scenes, music and the action (OMG! The action was so good).

If you didn’t know the director – David Leitch – who helped direct the two John Wick movies (which I’m in love with too, probably end up talikin’ bout that too).

Anyway, the action scenes are awesome! There bloody, well paced, and super engagin’. It feels like you’re watchin’ the old hong kong flicks – where the choreography is the definin’ characteristic of films. This director has a passion for action an’ it really shows. A whole lot.

The next definin’ characteristic was the music. All 80’s pop. The best era, period! The movie would even play with the sound an’ volume, where it would go in an’ out through scene. This was cool cause it made you feel very immersed in the experience. Addin’ to the down to earth quality the film already has.

And throughout, the second viewin’ of it – keep shazamin’ songs for later, cause there were some that me – a 80’s music buff – didn’t know. At all. Surprisingly.

Like this one. 

Or this one.

So Good!

To go with the 80’s music, the film had a 80’s look too.

The costume design had throw backs to 80’s hip hop culture.  Even the titles had a 80’s graffiti look (awesome!)

A lot of the places were dark, dingy, an’ cold. But other places were really well it with neon lights. And the neon lights bounced of Charlize’s skin tone, perfectly. Leitch has a nice visual eye. Really nice.

While in love with this film, it’s not all super good.

As an writer, the story – the final version on screen – is okay. It’s a basic spy story. With double crossin’ abound. And if you’re confused bout a certain double cross, the movie tells you in the next scene or too.

Personally, I’m not gonna judge the writin’ too harshly cause it’s an action flick as heart (they’re not known for the greatest plots). And – straight up – writin’ is hard, hard, hard!

But – I do gotta say – the dialogue was cool. It was laconic, dead. Which went with the bleak tone, perfectly.

Oh – I almost forgot – the lead, Charlize!

She was awesome. And super down to earth. And didn’t feel super overpowered like other action stars like Arnold in Commando.

She got beat up, bloody, bruised.

When she was sad, you felt it.

When she was angry, you felt it.

When she was emotionless, you felt jack.

A plus performance. Pretty much the whole cast was dope too…

… All in all, I was very impressed with this movie. I thought it was gonna be good. And it was.

You should definitely go see this if you like action, guns, 80’s music, and/or neon lights!

It won’t disappoint.

Later,

Jamual.

 

Star Wars — Emotional Space Opera

Did you see the latest Star Wars? Did you like it?

I did. A whole bunch.

It was a real fun, emotional ride. That’s a good thing. Basically that’s what I look for when watching movies — emotions.

To me, that’s the key to storytelling of any kind — commercials, feature films, novels, or TV shows.

In what ever medium you choose, it’s important that it must trigger a emotion in a person, ideally multiples like fear, sadness, happiness or anger.

We must feel something. That’s how an average person gets hooked. Their connected to the story through their feelings.

That’s why people fight over there favorite superheroes. Some way, some how, you’ve formed a visceral connection to Batman — crazy, right?  The Dark Knight has got you hooked.

So, after re watching the Star Wars prequels (The Phantom Menace, The Clone Wars, The Revenge of the Sith) I understand why people don’t like it compared to the sequels.

The prequels were missing the drama of the sequels. It was missing the emotional component of Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. The tension, especially when Luke finds out that Darth is his father, gets ratcheted up by a million.

Before the reveal, it was just another space movie, but after, it turned into the space movie, to me. That scene is probably one of the most famous scenes in film history, period.

In terms of the prequels, I only got a emotional response from Anakin Skywalker, that’s it, everybody else was alright. Okay, there was Yoda and Obi-Wan — you got me.

But compared to sequels characters, there was Chewy, Han Solo (love him the best), Princess Leia, Lando Calrissian, you couldn’t do no better than those guys. Those guys left me with something, you know? They were memorable. Probably why I almost cried when Han Solo got impaled with a lightsaber.

The only reason I liked Anakin was his drive for love, which was super taboo for Jedi’s. For me, this added a cool element of suspense. I also loved that Anakin was relentless in trying to get Padmé — his true love.

When he saw her again, in The Clone Wars, he said that he’s been thinking about her for 10 years. 10 years, man! That’s crazy.

When I heard this, my ears perked up because we all experienced liking another any person that much, so I found it kinda admirable that he was so into her.

Do you think so?

It reminded me of those overly persistent dudes that are always calling and double texting girls. Yeah, apparently those guys exist.

I mean, being overly persistent is probably annoying in real life. But this isn’t real life, this is a movie. And in a movie, seeing a hero go after what he/she wants, makes me wanna watch it.

This budding romance was the only redeemable quality in the prequels. Way more emotional than 10 minute light sabers with crazy dudes in red masks —

 — Okay, that’s enough talking about feelings and such —

I’m probably gonna go listen to some Adele and cry somewhere.

RIP Han Solo. 

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The Gift of Human Speech

I’ve seen the movie, The Hateful Eight, about three times already, and I love it. It’s memorable, filled with dark humor, over the top violence – blood splattering bodies — and reams of some of the most sayable dialogue since Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs — another masterpiece that released in early October of this year.

The thing with Tarantino that I love is his gift of human speech.

Anything that his character say is pure gold. Lately, I’ve found myself reciting Major Marquis Warren’s hangman monologue — played by Samuel J. Jackson, one of my favorite actors. And who can forget the Royale with Cheese scene from Pulp Fiction — pure beauty.

I distinctly remember reciting Sam Jackson’s dialogue on the train — in my head, of course, I’m not crazy like the rest NYC finest’s citizens.

To me he’s a screenwriter’s director, everything he writes on the page appears on the screen. That’s really something interesting to note, because a lot of times a writer’s script can be changed so much that he/she doesn’t even claim it anymore.

Case in point — Max Landis’, Hollywood screenwriting wunderkind, film, American Ultra — that script was changed around a lot, scenes thrown out like yesterday’s newspapers. Even the tone was changed from Landis’ more playful, funnier tone towards a darker, less funnier one.

There are many reasons for this too. Budget issues, studio executive disagreement, location issues, deadlines to meet, etc, etc, etc. I understand.

When I shot my first short, I only shot 1/3 of my script and improvised the rest, on a whim. (Thank you two years of improv, time well spent).

That’s why when I watch a Tarantino film, I always get happy when I see that he hardly noticed changed anything in his script because he keeps his initial vision — showcasing his confidence in his writing.

And when he does cut a scene or two, it’s usually not that significant — never taking away from the vibe of the film. For example, in this script he cut a pissing scene involving Jennifer Jason Leigh and Kurt Russell. Kurt Russell, John Ruth, allowed his prisoner, Daisy Domergue, to take a nice little whiz before going into the hotel, Minnie’s Haberdashery. I really enjoyed this scene, because it gives the audience an insight into their relationship, a odd and violent one.

The most significant cuts I’ve noticed with Tarantino was in the Django script. Django would have intense. nightmare flashbacks of him being a slave, which were peppered through the script every couple of pages or so. I guess, this was Tarantino’s way of showing really intimate character moments — which he’s master at. The fun thing about Tarantino is the way he’s able to run circles around other by writers by creating drama in one location — flawless scene construction.

Most screenwriters jump from location to location on a whim, creating no drama, no conflict at all. It’s just a waste and uneconomical, if your looking at a script for a producer’s eye. This trait is something, I’ve noticed among dialogue writers in film, television, as well as, theatre. They lock their characters one room and play. I’ve learned this trick too (improv days again). This is an amazing thing to do.

Why?

One: it lowers budgets by having one location (think about Reservoir Dogs — an successful indie, Tarantino’s first film).

Two: it forces the writer to understand the character even more, by hearing him talk, thus bringing out their characters’ personality traits.

Three: it’s a breeding place for drama. All great fiction writer throw characters with different personalities together, and have them duke it out, either verbally or physically.

In drama: Conflict is king.

Stop and think about Aaron Sorkin for a second.

Every scene he writes is laced with dialogue, one location and has conflict. This is his trademark used in Steve Jobs, The Social Network, The West Wing, Newsroom, and many others.

The beginning of the Social Network ,Mark Zuckerberg  (Jesse Eisenberg), is breaking up with his girlfriend, Erica Albright (Rooney Mara). It’s a eight page scene, brimming conflict — said quickly.  This is Sorkin’s specialty, which has made him an household name in Hollywood.

 Evidently, he’s aware of this too. He was even quoted, saying “any time you get two people in a room who disagree about anything, the time of day, there is a scene to be written. That’s what I look for.”

Boom, there you go. This is why he continues to get projects green lighted and why Tarantino can still make his offbeat, genre bending, dark humor projects — cause he’s a master of human speech.

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