Thursday, 24 February 2011

The 3D event of the year!!!

WARNING - RANT IMMINENT anyone else completely sick of these bloody 3D movies? It seems like if any film has the tiniest bit of action in it or it will appeal to anyone under the age of 20, there'll be 3D galore.

What really pissed me off was this brilliant Thor trailer which is spoilt by that pesky "in 3D" thing at the end:

Let me explain.

Y'see, I already see in 3D. I think we all do. Unless you have some serious depth-perception issues, you're capable of knowing that the smaller car behind the bigger one is not in fact miniature. It's further away! We've been knowing this for a while now.

The other thing is that it completely fecks up the picture quality. Filming in 3D or adding that post-production layering thing makes the picture darker. Then, you're forced to wear dark glasses. The picture you're looking at on the big screen isn't what was intended. So the cinematographer might as well have not turned up at all.

Oh, and you have to wear crappy glasses. Well, at least they're not made of cardboard.

And it costs more. Considerably more when you consider you're paying for the aforementioned dorky glasses. Which you already own from your last trip.

All this just so you can be absolutely, 100% positively certain that the smaller car is, in fact, further away.

Ok, rant over. I now return you to your previously scheduled Thursday.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Watch immediately.

This was doing the rounds last week. Excellent, innovative storytelling. And there's zombies:

That is all.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Writing sitcom B characters

This just in from the Euroscript newsletter on writing the B characters for sitcoms. Very useful advice for anyone undertaking the sitcom writing. By Paul Bassett Davies:

Think of some great sitcoms. Fawlty Towers. Absolutely Fabulous. Peep Show. All based around great characters: Basil Fawlty, Patsy and Edina, Mark and Jeremy.

Now think of Basil without Manuel, Patsy and Edina without Saffron, Mark and Jeremy without Super Hans. What would happen? Those sitcoms would lose more than just a secondary character, they'd lose a vital part of what makes them special.

The right B character can make a sitcom a classic.

B characters aren't as complex as the main characters, in fact they're usually stereotypes, but they play a vital role in the way they interact with the main characters.

Why are B characters so important?

When the B characters show up in a sitcom something changes. B characters always behave the same way - but they change the way the main characters behave.

How do B characters change the behaviour of the main characters?

The B characters are often like cartoon versions of the A characters. They're like an exaggerated offspring of one quality in a main character. They can represent exactly what the A characters don't like - about themselves. They reflect them in a distorting mirror.

In 'Will and Grace' Jack is exactly the kind of flamboyantly camp gay man that Will would dread to be seen as. Yet Will knows there's a side of him that could be like that. And Karen is the type of crazy, raddled New York fashionista that Grace suspects she could become if she just let things slip a bit and let one aspect of herself out of the cage.

Sid James was the perfect side-kick for Tony Hancock, the lower-middle class snob, because he showed Hancock everything he was trying not to be, and often lured him into betraying himself - or taking such pains not to betray himself that he became ludicrous.

How to create a B character.

Pinpoint the quality that the A character most hates about themselves. Create a B character who embodies this quality. Write some dialogue in which the B character offers advice - like the A character's bad angel, luring them to betray themselves or to react against the B character's attitude so strongly that comic tension or conflict is created.

Now you've got the makings of a B character - and now you can start to play, because:

B Characters are a lot of fun!

More info on Euroscript's courses here. I went on the Exciting Treatments day-course back in 2009 and I highly recommend them. They're somewhat expensive though, hence the reason I've only been on one. But if you've got bounds of cash to throw around in Tony Stark fashion, have at it! At the very least, sign up to their newsletter to hear about upcoming classes and get these nifty tips/nuggets of advice.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Natalie Portman love

I was ill last week - so very very ill. With flu. And not over-egged "Man Flu", but proper, real, completely horrible flu. I didn't get out of bed once on Monday and in the space of five days I think I ate a total of two meals.

Anyway, over it now (more or less). I don't have a blog post prepped, so I thought I'd pointlessly shae some Natalie Portman love. The last film I went to see was Black Swan - not sure if it should get the Oscar (haven't seen the other nominations), but I really want Portman to get Best Actress. She perfectly balances the vulnerability of the White Swan with the raw primal instinct of the Black Swan. Flawless.

Anyway, here's some Natalie love. But first, you should watch this. Just.....cos:

See how I've tastefully avoided putting in any saucy videos? There are a few in Black Swan. Just sayin'

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Dollhouse - potentially the best show ever made

The key word here is "potentially." I don't think Dollhouse is the most amazing show ever, but it's definitely in my top 10. Just think about the premise for a moment - an organisation that turns people in tabula rasas and them uploads personalities into their brains so they can live out other people's fantasies. They can be anyone. Literally!

Now that's high concept!

The massive problem with season one, though, is that our main character - Echo (Eliza Dushku) - is a complete blank slate. We can't relate to this character, because she isn't a character! It's far too episodic, since after every hour, Echo ceases to be whatever person she was, and becomes nothing again. Of course, episode six threw things wide open with a brilliant hour of TV. And the show got so much better.

But it didn't really come into its own until season two. Based on ratings, it should have been axed, but Fox were scared to repeat their mistake with Firefly, so gave it another season. Good old Joss Whedon, knowing full well that season two would be the end of Dollhouse, went all out with twists and turns and made it a lot better. Go out with a bang. Why not?

My personal favourite moments were the Epitaph episodes, flashforwarding to the future, where the Dollhouse has gone apeshit and destroyed the world. So I'm uber-glad the comic books are following that storyline.

Anyway, Dollhouse could have been amazing based purely on that awesome premise and the potential it had. But, while we wait for the comic books, why not check out this shiny fan-made trailer. Really captures what I'm on about. Ain't it cool?