Homage ala Formage!

A “classic” clip from the movie War of the Gargantuas (worth watching until the end.)

And the intro to a recent episode of Scooby Doo Mystery Inc…

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-09-26

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Pokemon Apokelypse: Live Action Trailer

This is a fan-made trailer for a “dark and gritty” Pokemon movie- how long before they really make one? I figure 10 years, maybe 15 tops.

We’re out of Ideas!

Recently, the Taiwanese publisher of Tong Li Comics lamented on the lack of ideas in the Anime industry. He complained that right now if a manga has even a limited following and is incomplete, Anime producers are racing to turn it into a TV show in order to fill the airwaves with their content. And that very few original shows or ideas are coming from within the actual Japanese animation industry itself.

Sound familiar? It should. People say the same thing about Hollywood constantly.

But, the truth is Anime and Hollywood aren’t out of ideas at all. They’re swimming in seas of ideas, big and small, and they’re surrounded by potential great new projects.

The problem is- they won’t use them.


Simple economics.

Here’s the deal most people don’t understand. This was explained to me by someone in the entertainment industry a long time ago when I made similar complaints.

Let’s say you’re an exec at an anime company making US$100,000+ a year. (Heck, you don’t even have to make that much, just enough to keep your family fed.) Your job is to greenlight new shows.

Now you have two projects sitting on your desk to make into a show:

a) An amazing new proposal from one of your company artists for an original show that’s one of the best things you’ve seen in years.

b) An adaption of a manga title with a decent following in some secondary magazine (not even JUMP) that’s got a few chapters out. Not bad, could do well, but not even in the same league with the original idea in a).

So which do you choose?

“b” will win 95% of the time, maybe even more.

Why? You ask. Don’t they want to produce quality shows?

Sure they do, but the most important factor here is fear, not quality.

Anime are expensive to produce, and each one requires a lot of time and effort. A big show can make or break the company, and most of all- it can break your career.

If you choose “a” and it’s a success, you could literally be set for life as a genius producer who saw the talent for what it was and made it reality. Your name could be remembered like Yoshitaka Amano and Hideki Anno. However, if “a” flops, it’s also 100% your responsibility, and you will accordingly have to explain to your wife why you didn’t get the promotion, got demoted, or even lost your job.

On the other hand, if you chose “b” and it succeeds, you’ll get a job well done, and a promotion. (You’re still a wheel in the system, but your company will be happy with you.) But, if it fails, then when you face your bosses you can say you did everything safe, and didn’t take any major risks. You took a previously successful story and you picked a good crew to adapt it. Clearly the audience wasn’t ready for it. Everyone will shake their heads sadly and things will move on.

But you won’t lose your job, and likely won’t be blamed unless they really really need a fall guy.

Which would you choose if you were them? With your wife, kids future, career, and $100,000+/year job on the line if you fail?

This, by the way, is also happening in Hollywood (in fact, it’s the RULE in Hollywood) and that’s why so many books and comics get adapted. It’s also why so many focus groups are used with movies, so the producers can show the studio they’re not to blame.

Almost nothing good will come from the entertainment industry establishment for this very reason. It’s the independents that take risks because they need to in order to get noticed, but once they’re “in” they fall under the same system.

Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules for Writing

A good read, and he says some interesting stuff, especially this part:

3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.

The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in. But said is far less intrusive than grumbled, gasped, cautioned, lied. I once noticed Mary McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with “she asseverated,” and had to stop reading to get the dictionary.

4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said” . . .

. . . he admonished gravely. To use an adverb this way (or almost any way) is a mortal sin. The writer is now exposing himself in earnest, using a word that distracts and can interrupt the rhythm of the exchange. I have a character in one of my books tell how she used to write historical romances “full of rape and adverbs.”

I’m not sure I could do that. Heck, when writing prose I find it hard that there’s a limited number of ways to say “said” in the English language (ie commented, noted, stated, etc) And to throw out the adverbs as well…I think much of that is style, as opposed to hard and fast “rules”. Writers love to make up rules for writing since new writers always ask them for advice on how to do it, but in reality I think it comes back to “if it works, it ain’t stupid!”

I do like this one, though:

8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.

Which Steinbeck covered. In Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” what do the “American and the girl with him” look like? “She had taken off her hat and put it on the table.” That’s the only reference to a physical description in the story, and yet we see the couple and know them by their tones of voice, with not one adverb in sight.

Within reason, I think this is an excellent idea. I think it comes back to the idea of “masking”, wherein characters which described in great detail seem more foreign to the reader, and characters described with little detail seem more familiar because the reader projects themselves into those characters more. (The reader’s mind naturally fills in the missing information with what they want to see.)

And finally…

10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

A rule that came to mind in 1983. Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them. What the writer is doing, he’s writing, perpetrating hooptedoodle, perhaps taking another shot at the weather, or has gone into the character’s head, and the reader either knows what the guy’s thinking or doesn’t care. I’ll bet you don’t skip dialogue.
My most important rule is one that sums up the 10.

It might sound strange, but when I read I tend to skip exposition a lot and jump straight to the dialogue, so to me this rule makes perfect sense. If the exposition is strong, and important, I will read it, but I have a very strong sense of when the writer is just filling the page with unnecessary words and so I tend to just skip over them. If the exposition really isn’t adding anything but words to the page, why is it there?

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-09-19

  • The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause. – Mark Twain #
  • New post: Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-09-12 http://bit.ly/c2pmSt #
  • Almost finished the first of the Little Gou short stories, this one an adaption of the first Gou AD. Just one more scene to go! #
  • RT @OpenDataLondon: Nice work @hendersonsk! #LDNOnt pedestrian and cyclist traffic collision mashup (data by @fowgre) http://j.mp/d2ZZa9 #
  • Hot Soup, the first Little Gou prose story is now finished! Time to walk my own puppy! #
  • How does a 7 scene radioplay become a 26 page short story? #
  • What's going on with my computer? I updated it yesterday and now the time is 34 minutes slow no matter what I do. Even turned off time sync. #
  • Okay, the weird time thing has now fixed itself, after being wrong for the past 12 hours or so. Should I blame Vista? #

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-09-12

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-09-05

  • RT @ebertchicago:The billionaire Puppet Masters of the Tea Party are farther to the Right than the naive TPs would dream. http://j.mp/doE4MC #
  • New post: Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-08-29 http://bit.ly/cLGgRB #
  • Something wrong with this image. Like seeing your father naked, or Santa Claus is Mr. Wilson from down the street-http://bit.ly/byaypE #
  • RT @amcgowanca: "An open letter to London Transit Commission expressing concerns" http://bit.ly/ddGXmw #ldnont #yxu #opengov #
  • The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. – Albert Einstein #
  • Good advice on How to Be Creative- http://bit.ly/9Q8TQp #

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