43 posts tagged writing
43 posts tagged writing
While this is no “Frank Sinatra Gets a Cold”, Gay Talese’s piece on Peter O’Toole is the best tribute to him you’ll ever read, even if it was written 50 years before O’Toole’s death.
Reblogged from twiststreet
Elmore Leonard’s death hit me pretty hard today. I’m sure other writers can speak more eloquently about his body of work or how he influenced them. All I have to offer is the following story.
Back when BE COOL, the sequel to GET SHORTY, was published, Elmore Leonard did a reading near where I lived in Manhattan, at The Mercury Lounge. The reason for the venue was that the real-lifeband he featured in the book, the Stone Coyotes, was going to perform after he read.
I found out about the reading last minute, and didn’t have any of his books with me. So I ran into a Shakespeare and Co. and bought one of his few crime books I hadn’t read - SWITCH. I chose it because I’d remembered that it was the first Elmore Leonard book Quentin Tarantino read - in fact, QT shoplifted it.
I got there expecting a throng of people to be surrounding Mr. Leonard, but he was just kind of chilling. I asked his agent or publicist if he’d mind signing my book, and she said he’d love to.
Even 10 or 15 years ago, the man behind all that hard boiled crime and Western was…frail. I’m not a big guy, but I felt like I might crush him. He was also soft spoken, and, for lack of a better word, sweet. He talked to me about writing for a while after signing Switch. I wish I could remember what words of encouragement he offered, but I couldn’t get over the incongruity between the man and his words.
Then he got up to read. I was nervous. There was no way this couldn’t be disappointing. It was going to be like hearing Rudolph Valentino’s squeaky voice breaking the illusion of silent film.
But it wasn’t. “Dutch”. as he insisted I call him, gave on of the most inspired, lively readings I’ve ever heard. He acted out every part, used the n-word in more creative ways that I could’ve imagined, and was more rock and roll than the Stone Coyotes that followed him.
It’s one of the rare times a hero didn’t disappoint, and I’ll be forever grateful for that experience. Rest in Peace, Dutch.
poster by Francesco Francavilla
art via: francavillarts:
Reblogged from francavillarts
Ever wonder exactly what it is I do?
My good friend, screenwriter Josh A Cagan hosts a brilliant, hysterical podcast called “Like I’m an Idiot”, where he has guests explain to him such topics as Directing Film, Stand Up Comedy and Dogs as if he were, well, like an idiot.
This week, I was fortunate enough to be a guest and try to explain what it’s like to write comics. I hope it is much entertaining to listen to as it was for me to be on.
Listen to it here: http://www.muleradio.net/likeimanidiot/22/
Was just watching the pilot of Community for a writing class I’m going to be teaching in the fall for The School of Visual Arts. Although the show gets immeasurably better, the pilot still holds up, distilling the show’s humanistic essence simply and elegantly. (I’ll post Jeff Winger’s speech from that show at some point, which is brilliant).
I’m fascinated by Dan Harmon’s writing process, which shares some things with mine but goes off brilliantly in other directions. Anyway, here’s his answer to an Ask Me Anything that I somehow can’t reblog. More writing related tumblr posts to come:
"Start with random IDEAS. Ideas can be anything - Poop is an idea, America, pickles, the number six, a raccoon, anything.
Some ideas will reveal related ideas, i.e. you may think, upon thinking about raccoons, that you have more than one thought about raccoons. Clouds of related ideas that your mind recognizes as related in any way are potential story AREAS. Look for areas that make you laugh and cry.
Draw a circle to symbolize your area, because your story will take the “reader” through related ideas in a path around a central idea. You don’t have to know what the central idea is. It’s probably dumb. For God’s sake, you’re writing about raccoons.
Divide your circle into a top half and bottom half and ask yourself what those halves might be. Like, your raccoon area might become divided into “positive thoughts about raccoons” and “negative thoughts about raccoons.” If the division doesn’t feel charged for you, pick something else, like male raccoon thoughts and female raccoon thoughts, or biological raccoon thoughts and storybook raccoon thoughts. At some point, you will divide your area into two parts that create a personal “charge” for you, like a battery. ”Ooo, I like the idea that there’s a difference between biological raccoons and storybook raccoons, that tingled when I drew that line, I want to know more.” <— that’s my impression of you nailing it.
Divide the divided circle down the middle and pick another charged dichotomy for left and right. For instance, biological/storybook raccoon area could get divided into dishonest/honest.
Now you have four quadrants to your circle, going clockwise: biological dishonest raccoon, storybook dishonest raccoon, storybook honest raccoon, biological honest raccoon. Any point at which you stop feeling charged, go back a step or start over. Maybe you had to get this far to realize you don’t give a shit about raccoons. Please note that at this point, people around you will start to express confusion and frustration, because they thought the idea was fine already. Depending on your mood and standing, these people are called hacks, traitors, parasites, scabs or successful colleagues.
When you find an area that yields four charged quadrants, experiment with protagonists. Easy answer first, maybe I’m a raccoon. So once upon a time there was a dishonest biological raccoon that became a storybook raccoon, which lead to him becoming honest before finally going back to being biological again. Cool? If not, go back or start over. Again, please note that many people will not want you to go back or start over. These people will one day drown in their own blood while you point and laugh with God. Or maybe they’re good people and you just have Asperger’s.
Then you keep dividing the pie, adding “curvature” to the protagonist’s path with the 8 point story structure you can find me blathering about elsewhere online.
Create more characters as needed, give them their own stories as needed.
Repeat every day until rich people give you money to do it for them. Buy a house, become one of them and hire poor people to do it for you. Somewhere in there try to get a dog and a funny girlfriend or it’s all pretty pointless. Speaking of which, I just realized I’m the only one at the office. Thank you for this question.”
Paleofuture blogger Matt Novak’s South by Southwest March 11 talk on the Edison versus Tesla debate and myth of the lone inventor went electric when web comic artist Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal, whose Tesla comic spurred the debate, showed up to defend his work.
“The goal with my comic wasn’t to write nonfiction, it was more to paint a portrait of Tesla’s character and why I admire that and why I admire geeks in general,”* Inman said when he emerged from the audience to ask a question at the end of the session.
Novak had taken issue with Inman’s viral comic “Why Nikola Tesla was the greatest geek who ever lived” comic, saying that it fed the “Great Man Theory of History” and the myth of the lone inventor.
The only thing more insidious that “the myth of the lone inventor” is the myth of the lone artist/writer/creator. We’re all only as good as our collaborators and our influences, and to believe otherwise is hubris.
Reblogged from txchnologist
This is an original production-issued script for the very first 1988 Bruce Willis action-adventure movie, Die Hard.
With thanks to Russell Buckley
Seriously had no idea until this moment that Die Hard was based on a novel. Now, everything is different.
Even more amazing, from wikipedia:Nothing Lasts Forever was originally written as a sequel to The Detective so it could be made into a follow-up film starring Frank Sinatra as Joe Leland. But when Frank Sinatra declined the role, it was then changed into a sequel to the Arnold Schwarzenegger film Commando, but when Schwarzenegger turned down the role, the script was retooled in 1988 for the standalone story, Die Hard, which would later become one of the most famous and beloved action films of all time.And the book was inspired by Towering Inferno!