Four Movies That Should Have Sequels and Four That Shouldn’t

“The only reason I would write a sequel is if I were struck by an idea that I felt to be equal to the original. Too many sequels diminish the original.”

–  Dean Koontz

 

My post today is straightforward: first I’ll list four movies that I believe should get sequels. Then I’ll list four more movies that are getting sequels but shouldn’t. Enjoy!

 

Four Movies That Should Get Sequels:

1.  The National Treasure Franchise

This is one of those movie franchises where no one can figure out why a sequel hasn’t been done yet. Maybe not every single person thinks the films are amazing, but enough people thought National Treasure 2 was good to earn it nearly half a billion dollars when it opened. Since then, though, it’s dropped off the face of the Earth. Why? Last I’d heard, Jerry Bruckheimer announced back in 2010 that a script for the movie was finished. Justin Bartha has had time to make the entire Hangover trilogy since the last National Treasure movie. Get going, guys!

2.  The Chronicles of Narnia movies

I get that people either love or hate this series, but I personally love it. I’ve read the books countless times, but this is one of the few cases where I’ve enjoyed every movie better than the novel. I think the team behind this franchise is genius, and Prince Caspian is still one of my favorite movies.

So, what’s the hold-up?

Well, there’s an entire mess of paperwork that has since gotten in the way, and essentially, no studio is allowed to make another Narnia film until 2018. By then the kid actors will most likely be way too old to play their parts in any future films. Which is really annoying, because I don’t think any reboot could top these adaptions.

 3. The Taken series

I know, I know, every character in this series has already been taken at some point or another, and by now there’s literally no one left to kidnap. I know that Taken 2 just barely got by, scraping on the untapped elements of the first movie, and by now there’s really nothing left to do with the franchise. I understand and agree with all of that.

My argument?

Liam. Neeson.

If Apple is so smart, why haven't they made him the voice of SIRI yet?

If Apple is so smart, why haven’t they made him the voice of SIRI yet?

 

 4.  Super 8

Ah, you knew I was going to throw in a personal choice.

I admit that this is the kind of movie where a sequel would probably ruin it. After all, everyone’s stories came to a close, the movie ended on a happy note, and it was a lot of fun. Turning it into a series would feel weird, and to be honest, I probably would be disappointed if that actually happened. But, this is my favorite movie, so I feel like I should hope for a sequel just to give J.J. Abrams a chance to wow me a second time.

 

Four Movies That Shouldn’t Get Sequels (But they are anyway):

 1.  The Transformers series

I like to think of this series as a marathon runner who started off great, tripped and sprained their leg on the second lap, hobbled along for a bit, then recovered enough to make a passable finish. That being said, they shouldn’t be running again anytime soon.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the Transformers series overall. The first one is a great movie; the second one, not so much, but the third one is decent entertainment. That being said, I don’t see any way to properly make a fourth movie, especially one that dumps the entire human cast. Stay back, producers! Unfortunately, said film already has a release date of June 27, 2014, one year from today.

What’s more unfortunate is that I’ll probably end up seeing it anyway.

2.  Inception

To address the obvious first: Inception is an awesome movie. The concept of breaking into subconscious worlds through dreams is a great one, and the emotions coupled with the action scenes make this an unforgettable film. I love the actors, the story, the twists, and the dynamic bits, even if the whole thing is almost three hours long.

But, let’s be honest. How in the world would Christopher Nolan pull off a sequel that’s better than, or even as good as, this movie? It finishes up all of its subplots, literally ending at the beginning of the story. It’s a closed loop.

So, I don’t know why the entire cast has signed on for sequels. But, luckily it’s in the planning stages, so maybe Nolan will do the smart thing (which he’s good at when it comes to filmmaking) and let this brilliance stay put.

 3.  The Pirates of the Caribbean series

I’ve probably never loved a series this much and wanted so desperately for it to end. Originally, The Curse of the Black Pearl was supposed to be a standalone film, and it worked out well that way. Then the production team decided to make not one but two more sequels.

And guess what? I loved those just as much! In fact, I’ll be so bold as to say the third film is the best (then the first, then the second). They’re all great. By the end of this trilogy, the story truly was finished, tied up in a neat, humorous, heartwarming little bow.

Then On Stranger Tides happened.

I try to keep meanness off my blog, so I won’t get into the fourth PotC movie, but suffice it to say this ruined the series for me. Please, producers: I barely escaped with my life from your fourth movie…don’t finish off the fans with a fifth. I admire Johnny Depp enough to see practically anything he’s in, so don’t trap me!

4.  The Final Destination movies

You’re supposed to write about what you know. Which means I’m not going to go on too long here, because I haven’t seen any of these movies. But just on principle, I don’t think there should be any sequels to this five-film series, even though there are two back-to-back ones in the works.

I’ll let the Philosoraptor meme explain why:

(I didn't make this meme, though I wish I had)

(I didn’t make this meme, though I wish I had)

It’s a good point.

Why Joel Courtney is a Boss (Movie Review: Super 8)

“Bad things happen, but you can still live.”

 

Super 8 PosterOoh, the film for which I named this blog. The pièce de résistance of my movie reviewing. If you’re a faithful reader, you probably saw this coming.

I’ll jump right into it: For those who don’t know, Super 8 is a sci-fi action thriller directed/written by J.J. Abrams and produced by Steven Spielberg, released in June 2011. The premise: six kids are filming a super-8 movie when they witness a train crash, with something dangerous aboard (spoiler alert: IT’S AN ALIEN). The military is rolling into town, dogs are running away, people are disappearing, and no one knows why.

I saw trailers for this back in June 2011. I didn’t go to see it. To be honest, the movie looked just mediocre, and I’m not one for alien invasion flicks, anyway. But it was still interesting enough for me to put a library hold on the DVD, and when it came in a year ago to the day (I’m writing this on December 28th) I sat down and popped it in. I wasn’t expecting a reaction like “holy goodness that was the best movie ever”, but I hoped it would be decent.

Holy goodness that was the best movie ever.

Okay, well, I’m not going to say it was the best movie EVER. But it was (and still is) my favorite.

Here’s why.

First of all, the train crash scene is sick. Yes, it’s a little excessive. Yes, the prequel to this movie should be called “And They Said I Was Crazy to Build a Railroad out of Dynamite.” But this is Hollywood, and you could do much worse than everything blowing up like crazy for a minute or two.

I firmly believe that in any form of storytelling—books or movies—action doesn’t mean much unless we care about the characters. Luckily, this movie is perfectly cast. Every character does great acting like a genuine teenager, but the one who really stands out is the lead, Joe Lamb. As a boy who just lost his mom in a factory accident, he’s the mellowest—yet coolest—of the bunch. He’s the definition of the dork role that most of us fall into, all while falling for the girl of their group, Alice Dainard, whose dad is hated by Joe’s for an unknown reason.

And make way for my second-favorite scene of the entire movie: the part where Joe and Alice are watching a projection of Joe’s home movies, and Alice tells him that the morning of his mom’s accident, her dad missed his shift due to drinking, and Joe’s mom covered for him.

From there it’s action. The military sets fire to the town as an excuse for everyone to evacuate; meanwhile, the monster kidnaps Alice. When the kids learn this, they go back into the empty town, break into their middle school to find info their biology teacher had on the creature, and run through their neighborhood as it’s blown up street by street.

And it’s incredible.

To finish it all up, Joe rescues Alice, the monster gets back to its ship, and as it flies away, we have my single favorite part of the movie: the part where Joe’s necklace—a locket his dad gave his mom the day he was born—flies out of his pocket, and he holds it in his hand. Then he looks at it and, while the ineffably beautiful music plays, lets it go.

Don’t ask me why that scene is so incredible; I’m not a good enough writer to explain it. Just go watch for yourself.

 

I should address the title of this review, though: why Joel Courtney, the actor who portrayed Joe Lamb, is so awesome.

Because he’s genuine. Not only his acting, but his personality, which shines through even past his on-screen character. The dude is just cool, and because Joe Lamb is so much like that, it’s fun to watch him and the others running away from aliens and exploding houses.

That’s why Joel Courtney inspired the main character of my book. Because mellow, honest, genuine personalities are—as I now believe—the most likable, and those characters pull the most emotional strings.

I could be totally wrong. But that’s why I love Super 8, think its main actor is awesome, and used that as inspiration for my book.

We’ll see where that gets me.

 

In conclusion: this movie delivers quite a bit more than expected, as does its cast. It’s not the most mind-blowing film you’ll ever see, but it’s handled with such quality and acted so genuinely that it’s hard to walk away unsatisfied.

Rate: 10 out of 10.

Christmas Camping, Memories and Moonshiner Ghosts

“Happiness is only real when shared.”

–  Chris McCandless, written in journal

  

I like to think of myself as a somewhat courteous blogger. So, as a courtesy, I’ll tell you now that this post probably won’t interest you in the slightest. Because even though I just got back from an amazing trip with quite a few of my friends, that doesn’t really affect you. No, there’s no deep emotional story about to come out, or a lifetime realization about the secret to writing well. Just a recap of my great weekend. Ergo…this post probably won’t interest you in the slightest.

I’ll post on writing next time, I promise!

 

So, then. My weekend trip.

Every December since sixth grade, I’ve gone with my Boy Scout troop up to a lodge, which has a room full of bunk beds, an eating area, a sitting area with a fireplace, and even an arena for us to play dodgeball.

And I suppose now is when I should explain that this isn’t technically a ‘campout.’ Normally a campout for us is building and sleeping in shelters during freezing-level temperatures. But for Scouts who have exceptional service hours, this is our ‘reward’ campout.

Since I’m a senior in high school, this was my last chance to go. I planned to enjoy it and wasn’t disappointed.

I mostly played Mario Kart and slept during the drive up. Once we arrived at the lodge, we cranked up the iPods until it was time for bed.

Saturday was full of funness. There was great food (cooked by the adults; again, this was a reward trip), lots of music, and movies shown with the help of my projector and another scout’s drop-down screen. Through the course of the day we watched The Rundown, The Dark Knight Rises and the first half of The Avengers.

We also fit in a hike. That was surprisingly relaxing…walking through the clear, open woods in mild cold while all of us whistled “Viva La Vida” and enjoyed the view.

Hike 1

I got to talk to my friends, which I realized I wouldn’t have many more chances to do within the troop.

Then towards the end of the hike, we came across a destroyed cabin, and our Scoutmaster told us the same story he’s told every year:

In the early 1900’s, a man lived in these back woods…a moonshiner. He built a cabin by hand and smuggled a boiler into it, which he used to make hundreds of gallons of moonshine over the next five years…illegally, of course.

Soon, the police heard rumors of what he was doing, and investigated. Upon confirming that the man was indeed breaking the law, they sent several teams to find his cabin and arrest him.

When they arrived at the scene, the moonshiner locked himself in his house and started shooting, intending to go down fighting. The police fired back, and their bullets hit the boiler.

The cabin exploded. The moonshiner was killed, but his body never was found.

The rumor said that he still haunted the forest where he had spent the last years of his life, waiting for the moment to carry out his revenge. And to this day, people who have ventured to the lodge at night claim to have heard him calling out for his killers.

Or, so the story goes, anyway.

I know that doesn’t sound like much, but hearing it while we stood in the cold wind, looking out at the pile of logs that was obviously once a home…it was interesting. The rusted bed frame was still there, along with a part of the stove, an old sink, and even parts of a car on the other side of the stream.

Anyway. After all of this we got back to the lodge, had dinner, exchanged small gifts, and had some amazing hot apple cider. Before I fell asleep that night, I cranked up the Fray’s “Never Say Never” in my earbuds and started to type on my iPod’s notepad.

 

I know this is my last year because today was a great day, and for some reason I’m sad.

This is the last time I’ll sleep in this lodge, under this roof with these incredible people. I’m trying to capture everything, but of course that’s impossible. So what’s the one thing I do to preserve it? I write about it.

But I’ll do that tomorrow. For right now, I need sleep. I’ve had my time for goodbyes here. All it really taught me is that I’ll never have enough.

So for now, as I sit here for the last time in this place: goodbye. Thank you for six incredible years.

10:55 PM.

 

Then I woke up this morning, we all packed up, and we drove home. Luckily I got to make one more memory by watching Super 8 with one of my close friends during the ride.

All I can say is that I’m coming home next year, and I’ll go on this again, if I’m allowed. I don’t care if I’ll be in college with a new set of friends and finals bearing down. There are just some things you never let go of.

This is one of them.

On Writing: The Last Sentence (For Now)

“Success is a finished book, a stack of pages each of which is filled with words. If you reach that point, you have won a victory over yourself no less impressive than sailing single-handed around the world. ”

 –  Tom Clancy

 

I haven’t posted about writing for a while, but last I remember, I discussed the actual writing of a book, of transforming the bullets in an outline into the words on a page. I was a bit limited with that subject, as people have their own way of going about laying out their story. But tonight I wanted to talk about what it feels like to actually finish a manuscript (albeit the first, unedited draft).

Some people don’t. In fact, I don’t think it’s too bold of a statement to say that many people who start novels end up giving up and never finish them.

I’ve only done this once. And I’m not sure if that time counts, because it was a novel I’d never planned on taking very far. It was actually based off a TV show I enjoyed, but it only ran for a few episodes. The series closed on a cliffhanger, so I decided it might be fun to imagine how the story ended. I knew from the start it was mostly an informal chance to play around with writing techniques, and after a few months I scrapped it, moving on.

I have finished my share of first-draft manuscripts, though, and I must say I’m still not used to the feeling of typing the last words of a story I’ve worked on for months.

Based on what I’ve heard, that feeling is different for each person. Some people feel sweet, amazing relief that they satisfactorily completed a story, start to end, and they just want to put it away for a while. Others want to immediately whip out the editing pen and get to work making every word as perfect as possible.

I’m mostly in the middle, but if we were to draw out a spectrum, I would be more towards the first option. With my time as limited as it is, I’m so relieved just to have a manuscript done and wrapped up that I don’t want to come back to it for a while. When I finish, I make note of the time and date, jot down a few words to commemorate it, whip out the sparkling grape juice, and usually watch the movie Super 8 if only because I still enjoy it.

I give myself a resting period of a few days (not too many, though) and then get—as our friends in Aerosmith say—back in the saddle. Generally that means deciding what story I want to start on next, because I believe in letting a manuscript sit for at least a month before beginning the process of editing.

But, that’s another subject. One that I’ll be tackling soon, in fact.

So. If you actually do finish (or have finished) a novel, congratulations! I know that doesn’t mean much coming from a stranger with a blog named after an obscure sci-fi movie, but I still like saying it.

Because I know so, so many people who have given up on their stories, and that always makes me sad, because I feel like if you love something like writing, you would keep doing it no matter how bad the finished product is. Maybe that’s because I have low standards, or else because I’m ridiculously stubborn in finishing something I’ve started. I’m not sure.

In any case, even if your story isn’t published (none of mine are, for example), you can still keep them for yourself. Neil Gailman once said that “a book is a dream you hold in your hands.” I at least try to keep in mind that not every dream we have is meant to be shared. Sometimes, they’re so precious because they’re ours alone. No one else’s.

Sometimes, dreaming itself is what’s important.

What Am I Watching? (Motion Picture Review: Thankskilling)

Kristen: “There’s no such thing as an evil turkey. There’s no such thing as an evil turkey. There’s—”

Turkey: “No such thing as an evil turkey. Oh wait…I lied!”

 –  The most clever dialogue in this film

 

Tonight I am the bearer of sad news. My sarcasm is gone.

Okay, so it isn’t gone for good. But it has been shocked out of me for a good few days, so tonight I’ll have to settle for sarcasm’s uglier cousin, snarky cynicism.

Let me back up.

 There is a motion picture in existence called “Thankskilling,” released as an independent horror film in 2009. The plot revolves around a turkey, who has the same size and appearance as everyday turkeys. In fact, he’s quite a bit like normal turkeys, except that his eyes are yellow.

And oh yeah, he talks and kills people, too.

Yes, this is real. Yes, it can be rented on iTunes (in HD for an extra two dollars, an offer I’m sorry to say I took advantage of), and yes, it can be watched. Having said all that, it is not a movie. It is a motion picture, yes, but it can’t be defined as a “movie” by the most liberal use of the word.

I knew it was going to be bad going into it. I was told about it by a friend, who tried to convince me I shouldn’t watch it. I ignored her advice, watching it with several other friends only yesterday. I was all set to come home and write a ridiculously sarcastic review: “Best movie ever! The plot had so many twists, the acting was top notch, and the special effects left my eyes spinning in their sockets. Screw Super 8 and the Harry Potter films; move over for Thankskilling! Rate: 11 out of 10!”

Yeah, I can’t do that. As I said earlier, my sarcasm has been shocked out of me by this adventure. So feel free to sit back and read my entire breakdown of it.

I’d say “spoiler alert”, but that would imply the existence of a solid plot.

So, we meet five college students, who all seem to fit perfectly into their stereotypes: A jock, a nerd, a redneck, a good girl, and a party girl. They all happen to be driving home from an unnamed college for Thanksgiving break, when their car suddenly breaks down in the middle of the road. Seeing as they just so happen to have sleeping bags and tents in their trunk, they decide to camp in the woods for the night. During the night, they realize these are the same woods in which, moments after the first Thanksgiving, a Native American put a curse on a turkey to attack any humans it saw. This turkey was supposed to rise 550 years later…which is apparently this night.

Now, I’m no mathematician, but seeing as the first Thanksgiving occurred in 1621 (which the film even acknowledges at the opening), this story either takes place in the year 2171—highly unlikely, given the quality of the props used—or the producers decided that being off by 164 years was an acceptable margin of error for the sake of the story.

Anyway. Seeing as I’ve just covered roughly the first half of the film, here are the things I noticed so far.

First of all, the acting is—to use my Calculus teacher’s favorite word—putrid. And I don’t mean it was bad on purpose. No, it was much like the movie itself…such a poor attempt that we’re not even really laughing at them anymore. We’re just shaking our heads and wondering where in the world this production crew dug up these teenagers.

Second of all: the script. Oh, Lord, the script.

Well, they definitely had one. This was painfully obvious as the actors attempted to deliver their lines with…well, pretty much getting them delivered felt like a victory to us. If you want to know how the dialogue was, picture an eight year old writing out what he thinks college students say to each other on a normal basis. Throw in a bit of cussing and tone down the intelligence by a few notches, and you’ve got the screenplay.

Third of all: the story had more holes in it than an old pair of crocs. Major ones so far include the car breaking down for no reason and then being perfectly fine the next morning, the kids randomly having tents in their trunk, and the fact that the killer Turkey can walk and talk (though I’m going to accept that one without question, as that pales in comparison to the plot holes of the rest of the film).

 

The second half is where it gets interesting.

Summary: the kids all go back to their homes. Meanwhile, the turkey stands on the side of the road until someone pulls over and gives him a ride (I swear, they act as if he was a human being), and after killing this person, the turkey pushes him aside and begins to drive.

Did you just read that correctly?

Yes. Yes, you did. The turkey begins to drive.

We’re never shown how, and I’m sure it’ll be a question that will haunt me almost as much as “Why in the name of God did the driver let the talking turkey in the car in the first place?”

Anyway. The turkey drives to each of the kids’ houses and begins killing them off. This is usually done with him using his wings, wielding a shotgun (another inexplicable feat), and in the most notable case, pecking off a man’s face and proceeding to wear it.

But wait, there’s more!

The kids all meet up at the house of the man whose face is now being worn, and when the turkey—who, keep in mind, is around two feet tall—answers the door, the kids all hug him and tell the “man” they’re glad he’s alright.

Wait, what?

This is the point at which I declared this not a movie. Because in a motion picture like this, where the kids don’t realize turkey has killed a man until they see turkey actually standing over the body, is a motion picture not worthy of being called a movie.

The next event is equally unbelievable: one of the kids is walking home, sees a cartoon roasted turkey (identical to the kind eaten on Thanksgiving) and swallows it whole. Seconds later, his stomach is pecked open from the inside, and the killer turkey emerges.

Keep in mind, this turkey is around the size of a microwave.

Which is an excellent segue into describing the finale of the film: the remaining kids chase the turkey down, turkey is shot, and turkey lands in a dumpster of radioactive waste. The kids then walk home, make popcorn and watch a movie together—hours after all their friends and parents have been killed, mind you—and one of them remarks how in a way, they’re glad this happened because it brought them closer together emotionally.

Dude, almost everyone you know just got murdered.

No sooner has he said this than the turkey attacks them…and the turkey is glowing bright green.

Yep. Radioactive fowl on the loose.

After taking out everyone except one girl, said girl goes into a rage and throws the turkey into a pile of sticks that happen to be perfectly arranged in tipi bonfire form, and she throws a match that just so happens to ignite the pile within two seconds.

Wow, I wish I could start campfires that easily.

And then, as the turkey dies in the fire, a chicken leg—yes, a chicken leg—falls out, and the girl takes a bite.

 

A valuable devotion of my time and money, indeed.

Well, I’ll stick to my usual reviewing format, I suppose. What I liked about this film:

……Please hold.

Eh…the turkey was punny, I suppose. At one point he kills someone with an ax, then remarks, “Oops. I had an ax-ident”, followed by a detailed explanation as to why that’s a play on words.

What I disliked:

Seriously?

But don’t change the channel yet. Because if you did enjoy this movie, you’ll be excited to know it’s the first in a trilogy.

I haven’t seen the other two, but here’s what I know for a fact: the second movie is essentially the same—well, plot, for lack of a worse term—except it takes place in space, and the turkey is part cyborg. In this one, he dies for good.

Which is why the third movie’s tagline is, and I quote, “The first horror movie to ignore its own sequel.” This third movie literally says that the second installment never existed, and here’s what really occurred after the first adventure.

I was expecting nothing less.

In conclusion…

[Coach Carr voice]: Don’t watch this film. Because you will be brainwashed…and die. Don’t watch this with your friends, don’t watch it alone, don’t watch it with family…just, don’t do it, promise?

Seriously. If you’re that desperate for entertainment, find a turkey to actually peck out your eyes. It would hurt less and probably be a better use of your time, too.

Rate: Lolz.

Hurricanes and Halloween

“I got a rock.”

 –  Charlie Brown

 

First of all, no, I haven’t dropped off the face of the planet. I can see why you might think so, between my week-and-a-half absence as well as our good friend Sandy slapping the stuffing out of the east coast, but I can assure you I’m perfectly fine and haven’t suffered any injuries other than death by homework.

I realize that going more than a week without posting is normal for some blogs, but I hate being inconsistent and will try to keep my future dry spells under four days. Underscore on ‘try’ and attachment of apologies.

So, then. My first topic…Hurricane Sandy.

First of all, I hope everyone stayed reasonably safe and their possessions/dwellings are relatively intact. I should say upfront that no matter what your situation is, you automatically have the right to complain about it to me. Because I myself didn’t lose power at all, had no trees or damage whatsoever in our yard, and my evening was spent watching The Avengers on our big-screen projector while writing and sipping hot chocolate. So you could say I have very little room to whine.

There were several things about Sandy I found interesting before the storm even hit. The fact that it had not one, two but at least three Twitter accounts was a bit strange, especially to someone like me who doesn’t have Twitter and thus missed the coveted privilege of Retweeting the storm’s updates such as “I’m comin, fools!”

Probably the most notable thing about this whole event was the unending supply of ridiculous names the media whipped up for this storm. ‘Sandy’ itself isn’t a particularly intimidating name by any stretch, and ‘Hurricane Sandy’ almost sounds like it should be the main character of a children’s book detailing how hurricanes form.

And ‘Frankenstorm’ is just stupid.

I apologize to whoever the first person was to coin that term, but couldn’t you have been a *smidge* more original? We understand the humor. This storm is the mixing of two smaller storms. So it’s a new creation, like Frankenstein. And it’s close to Halloween. Tee hee.

Well, let me switch off my cynical side for now and move on to Halloween.

It’s sad, because this is my last Halloween as a kid. Next year I’ll be a legal adult, which is scary, and somehow I don’t think there’s trick-or-treating in college. So this year I hoped to go trick-or-treating—yes, I was prepared to do that—but due to the storm and the business of my friends I’m not sure I’ll be able to. Nonetheless, I helped decorate my house and went to several Halloween parties dressed as Joe Lamb, the main character of Super 8 (which meant dark jeans and a green button-up similar to the one he wore for the first ten minutes or so of the movie).

In addition, I passed the time yesterday afternoon by carving a pumpkin. Luckily I found an Iron Man template online, but I’m still not sure how well it worked.

 

So yeah, I’m hoping my last Halloween will be fun and not too affected by the storm’s damage. I’ll probably sit at home, watching Criminal Minds after finishing homework. I’ll also gorge myself on sweets like most days of the year, except this time I won’t feel too bad about it.

I’ll also write a review of the movie Woman in Black, which I’ll post on here tomorrow night. So in the meantime, Happy Halloween. Don’t be afraid to be six years old again…acting your age on days like this is overrated in my opinion.

On Writing: My Writing Persona

 “I sometimes go to my own little world, but that’s okay, they know me there.”

 –  Joel Hodgson

 

Due to the fact that the internet is a large and, at times, rather terrifying place, I have—as you may have noticed—put very little information about myself on this blog. The most I’ve said is that I’m a guy in my senior year of high school, I’ve written several unpublished manuscripts, and I love the movie Super 8 (for which this blog is named).

And no, I’m not going to break that streak of silence tonight by divulging every personal detail. But I am going to tell you a bit about myself as a writer.

As I haven’t told you much about myself, I don’t know what you picture when (if) you think of the person behind this blog when they’re creating its content. Perhaps you imagine a teenager with six friends on Facebook, glasses worthy of Professor Trelawney, and a laptop on which he plays minesweeper for twenty hours of the day.

Or, maybe you picture a sketchy dude in sketchy clothes, sitting in the darkest corner of his basement, typing furiously on a laptop and staring at the WordPress stats pages waiting for views to trickle in.

In both cases you’re incorrect. Believe it or not, I do have a life outside of writing. The depth of that life is questionable, but it exists nonetheless.

Seriously. I don’t do this all the time.

But, I’m actually quite off topic. Today, I wanted to talk to you about my persona as a writer.

Regular me is pretty much average everything, with relatively few quirks other than an unhealthy obsession with the Harry Potter franchise and the need to suck the fun out of my class schedule by drowning it in AP courses.

But then, there’s my writing persona. Which is something that nobody is too familiar with, regardless of whether you know me personally or not.

Well, prepare to be enlightened.

 

The best way to describe my writing persona is to describe the person who sits down at my desk and punches out a chapter, article, blog post, revision…whatever happens to be on the agenda for the day. That person looks the same as me, but if you watch them, you’ll notice a few things.

First of all, they’re more than likely drinking a glass of Welch’s sparkling red grape juice. Nothing makes me feel fancier and more writer-esque than sitting down with a wine glass filled with non-alcoholic wine  as I work. If you’ve never tried this incredible drink, I’d highly recommend it…be sure to check it’s non-alcoholic, obviously. And make sure it’s red grape (white will do in a pinch; it tastes the same but is bright yellow rather than dark red). The taste is as implied…grape juice, but with enough fizz to make your eyes water.

Second of all, this writer is most likely listening to either a) Classical Music or b) Soundtrack.

Classical music relaxes me. I don’t listen to it for fun, or anytime except when I’m sitting down to write…but when I do, it makes me feel more intellectual. My personal favorites are Pachelbel Canon in D and the Bach Double Concerto in D Minor. Vivaldi works, too, which is my current eardrum entertainment.

As for soundtracks…

What can I say? I love movie scores. Especially when they relate to scenes I’m trying to write. For sad, emotional bits I go for “Dumbledore’s Farewell,” “Lily’s Theme” and “Harry and Hermione,” all from the last handful of Harry Potter films. Epic tracks include “The Sinking” from Titanic, “Phoenix Rises” from X-Men: The Last Stand and “Inferi in the Firestorm” from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

In addition, two especially emotional songs I’ve listened to more than a few times are “Davy Jones” from the second Pirates and “Arrival at Aslan’s How” from the incredible Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian score.

So that’s how I get myself focused, particularly when writing fiction.

Don’t get me wrong, though…I write regardless of my surroundings, and unless I can find a spare hour or two in the evening, I have to adapt. This means writing in places like a packed gymnasium, empty library, silent corner or cacophonous school bus. I’ve written battle scenes on my phone and death scenes at home while listening to “Gangnam Style.”

Those who do know me personally probably know well that I carry around a dark blue composition notebook, to school and anywhere else I go for more than an hour or two. Most people assume it’s one big story I’m writing, but in reality, it’s just a source of paper. I never have just one project (book, short story, blog post) on my “to do” list, so the pages of my writing journal are spattered with bits of all three. This is all just temporary for when I get home and have the chance to decipher my handwriting mess and type it out in its proper word document.

But, I’ll talk about writing by hand vs. typing later.

So, there you have it. You’ve been introduced to my more intellectual and expressive alter-ego who enjoys writing for fun. He thanks you for taking the time to read this.

If you wanted to follow his blog via email, I’m sure he would be very appreciative, too.