Random Generators: Gimmick or Untapped Resource?

I think it’s safe to say that most writers who have regular Internet access have used a random idea generator at some point in their lives. Why not? Ideas are hard to come by and always seem to evade us when we need them most. When people want to write but don’t know WHAT to write, that missing bit of inspiration (whether it’s an occupation, a setting, or a complete premise) can be filled in by a machine. Ain’t technology great? Continue reading

TVTropes: The Power of the Wiki Walk

TV Tropes

Today I want to talk about a well-known resource for writers and fans of TV alike: TVTropes.org. Whether you love it or hate it, it’s impossible to deny the addictive power of this website, which makes use of the hyperlink-saturated style that has made Wikipedia infamous for drawing users knee-deep into Polynesian mythology when all they wanted to know was the name of that one actor in that one movie. The layout itself is what gives TVTropes its power to spark creative thought–if you use it correctly, that is. Continue reading

TV and Digital Scholarship: A Perfect Fit

I have a love-hate relationship (as I do with a good many things) with the conversation on the legitimacy of digital scholarship. On the one hand, I’m all for innovative forms of scholarly activity (I’m a Kindle-toting pro-tech who’d rather write a TV pilot script than the Great American Novel, so that’s kind of a given). On the other hand, though, I feel like the whole topic is at an uncomfortable place right now; the way I see it, it’s inevitable that digital scholarship is going to become more and more accepted, so there’s not much to do right now except rail self-righteously against the Luddites who oppose it…you know, wherever the Luddites have gotten to at this point if they haven’t gotten on board with the whole inevitability thing. Continue reading

TV Takeaway Unscripted: Bates Motel

Following the success of the video that Haley and I made for the blog, we decided to make another video. Except this time, we made it a little more focused. Haley is a fan of the show Bates Motel. I had never seen it, so we watched the pilot together and recorded our reactions to it.

I’ve had the thought in the back of my head for a while that I might like to make a commentary video, and although the editing is sub-par and still heavily favors the jump cut, I hope you’ll enjoy Haley’s interpretation as a fan and my response to seeing the material for the first time.

(Be warned, this episode contains a rape scene. It’s not shown here, but it’s discussed.)

My Top Five Lessons from the First Week of Camp NaNoWriMo

We’re coming to the end of the first week of Camp NaNoWriMo, and although some days have been better than others and there are always those inevitable moments when I feel like I should just give up, I feel like I’ve gotten off to a pretty good start. The project I’m working on, by the way, is a Once Upon a Time episode entitled “Ghosts of the Past” (you can check out the details on my camper profile here).

My classmates expressed an interest in me talking a little more about NaNoWriMo on the blog, and while I don’t think this is an appropriate place for me to write about every negative thought and bout of self-deprecation that comes up over the month (that’s what Tumblr is for), I did think that this would be a good time to look back on this first week and reflect on a few of my experiences and what I’ve learned from them. That being said, here are the top five lessons I’ve learned during the first week of Camp NaNoWriMo. Continue reading

Oh Say Can You Scene: The Princess Bride

Back when I was a theater kid, we used to watch The Princess Bride in class all the time. We all knew the film, and we all knew we all knew the film. So I have this tendency to assume that everyone has seen The Princess Bride.

A couple of days ago I invited my friend Ty to watch it with me, and it turned out that he hadn’t seen it. Well, you learn something new every day. Continue reading

TV Takeaway–Unscripted

One of the things I like about written communication is that it gives you the opportunity to edit yourself. Before I post anything on this blog, I have the opportunity to look over it, check my wording, and make it as good as possible. You can do the same thing with texting and e-mail too. It’s great.

But recently I got to thinking, what if I showed people how my thought process looks on the first try? So, for my first video post on this blog, I got together with my friend Haley and had her ask me some questions about screenwriting.

I edited the video for time, so there was a significant amount of selection involved, but all of my responses here are unscripted. Watch and enjoy. Or, alternatively, watch and be glad that writing is my preferred mode of discourse.

By the way, we hit ‘stop’ before I realized that I’d mentioned a workshop without giving a time or place for it. The creative writing workshop will take place at 5pm on March the 27th at the Texas State Writing Center. It will be preceded at 4pm by a workshop on screenwriting specifically.

Elementary: A Legend Revamped (Part 2)

Welcome back for Part 2 of my commentary on the Elementary pilot. This is probably going to be my last full commentary before spring break begins, as I’ll be going home to spend some time with the fam. We’re going to Disneyworld–yay! A mind can’t function without occasional periods of rest, and I’m sure I’ll be ready to produce some high-quality content by the time I get back to San Marcos. Continue reading

Camp NaNoWriMo is coming!

Spring is on the way. Here in Texas, that means the weather is ping-ponging back and forth from 70 and sunny to 40 and stormy on a semi-daily basis. Should I wear basketball shorts and a T-shirt when I go out or would it be better to make it a sweater and a heavy coat? I don’t know. It’s impossible to tell.

Camp NaNoWriMo header

But more importantly for us writers, the impending arrival of spring also heralds the impending arrival of the April session of Camp NaNoWriMo. What is Camp NaNoWriMo, you may ask? Well, before I try to explain it to you, I’d better tell you what NaNoWriMo is. Continue reading

Elementary: A Legend Revamped (Part 1)

I’d heard of Elementary a while back and had it recommended to me a couple of times, but it was one of those things I never got around to watching. It seemed like a no-brainer for me to watch it, considering my continued recurring interest in crime dramas (my mom keeps telling me I should “write what I know,” but of course I don’t listen). That and I’m a casual Sherlockian who’s enjoyed the stories and some of the detective’s on-screen incarnations (Basil Rathbone, Robert Downey Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch–all great in my book). Now, it’s time to add Johnny Lee Miller to the list. Continue reading