Pitch Idea: Reign of Rudolph

reigndeer

Too normal. He’s the first to go.

You know Dasher and Dancer, et al. And you also know the greatest story of all, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. But do you know the sequel?

Forty years after his triumphant return, Rudolph has taken advantage of his status as Santa’s right-hand reindeer to rule the north pole. Rudolph is power-hungry. Permanently defined by the psychological torture he endured as a child, he believes that those different from him deserve a slow painful death, and so he institutes an apartheid directed towards all non-misfits.

Only a ragtag group of survivors stand against Rudolph’s iron-hoofed reign: an elderly elf with peppermint lung from his stint in the mines; Yoland, the last living Yeti; and our hero, a perfectly normal Jack-in-the-box — the disowned son of Charlie-in-the-box, Rudolph’s second-in-command. Together, they must track down the mysteriously withdrawn Santa Claus, the only man who can stand up to Rudolph. That is, if they can escape the Toy Factory first.

Also, there’s a scene where a troop of reindeer heil Rudolph with their antlers, because that’s funny.

Alternate title: “Reigndeer”

Advertisements

List of possible titles for a sequel to my action hero poets film Poetic Justice

poetic justice

Poetic Justice II: Trouble at the Home Font

Poetic Justice II: Inde-font-sible

Poetic Justice II: The Sansof Time

Poetic Justice II: There’s a new Serif in Town.

Poetic Justice II: Courier New? I barely know her gnu!

Poetic Justice II: Apostrophe Catastrophe

Poetic Justice II: Punch-uation

Poetic Justice II: Badassonance

Poetic Justice II: The Last Stanza

Poetic Justice II: Take A Stanza

Poetic Justice II: Rhyme Harder

Poetic Justice II: Mora Kombat

Poetic Justice II: Quintain of Solace

Poetic Justice II: Esprit de l’escalier

Poetic Justice II: While the Irony’s Hot

Poetic Justice II: Heroic Couplet

Poetic Justice II: Stand For What’s Write

Poetic Justice II: The Metaphrast And The Furious.

Merchant of Venice: The College Years

Ideally, all these actors would be in my adaptation, and it would be filmed in 2000.

Ideally, all these actors would be in my adaptation, and it would be filmed in 2000.

“Cut us, we bleed. Tickle us, we laugh. Screw us over, and we’ll screw you over!”

~Shy, My Adaptation

I was bored in Shakespeare class yesterday and outlined a modern-day adaptation of one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, The Merchant of Venice, as set in a college environment. Shakespeare-inspired teen comedies were turned into a fun subgenre back in the late 90s-early 00s, but I don’t think anyone has attempted a version of the play that centers around one guy trying to chop a pound of flesh out of another. The play just doesn’t work well for adaptation. Which is what makes it fun to attempt.

Dramatis Personae:

Tony – The popular, friendly, good-guy jock senior.

“Shy” – A bitter nerdy senior. Nicknamed for his quiet demeanor.

Bill – Tony’s best friend, who has just transferred from another college.

Portia – A smart, driven pre-law student. She’s looking for love, but disillusioned by the self-serving guys within her major.

Jessica – Shy’s freshman sister.

Lorenzo – A dweeby freshmen. Often teased for having a name out of Shakespeare or something.

Plot:

Shy works at the registrar’s desk, overseeing the fraternities on campus. He harbors a deep grudge against Tony, whose frat voted to keep him out back in their freshman year. When Tony comes to him to get Bill into the fraternity at short notice, Shy sees his moment for revenge: he cuts a deal. Bill’s in the fraternity, but if he can’t keep his grades up high enough to stay in, Tony must give Shy his Facebook and LinkedIn passwords — career suicide.

A sub-plot follows Bill’s romance with Portia after he wins a date with her in a contest during Greek Week. He’s the least materialistic, so she picks him. Also, Jessica starts dating Lorenzo, much to Shy’s dismay.

In the end, Bill’s grades tank, and unless he aces his last final, Tony’s career will go down in flames before it has started. Tony must appeal to the student fraternity board, where Portia masquerades as a frat member in order to qualify to defend Tony. Shy is defeated. Everyone else lives happily ever after.

I have a few loose ends to figure out… like how Portia stops Shy, or how the plots can tie together better than they do in the source material. Or how to deal with the extra ring subplot from the original play. I still need a good title. Also, I might give Shy a love interest so that it’s not a totally downer ending for him.

But, perhaps most importantly, this adaptation sets up a nice mirror of the original’s line about Shylock wanting a pound of flesh in order to bait fishhooks:

“What do you want his linkedin password for, anyway?”

“To bait phishers with.”

Style Imitations

From morguefile.com

One of my  advanced composition homework problems from the past involved imitating the style of other authors, even to the sentence level. It was an eye-opening experience, because I was able to think about every single choice that the author had made in order to construct a single sentence. My task was to recreate the same tone, mood, construction, and all that good stuff, while still giving different information. Here’s what I tried.

Model:

Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man.

Imitation:

Soon there was found a meal of well-seasoned steak, and it through its seasoning redeemed the company picnic; but no one at the event cared about the steak.

Model:

Having been charged with the “Americanization” of the newcomers, they naturally had to take on the task of defining what “an American” was and was not.

Imitation:

Having agreed to reorganize the sock closet, he patiently began by starting the challenge of learning what “a sock” was and was not.

Anyone think they know the sources for the model sentences?

Why You’re Creative: Be a Sports Commentator

sports to commentate on

“The ball appears to have stopped directly in front of the pins. There’s no movement at all. Still nothing. Nothing. Nothing… hey, wait a second. Is this a still? It’s a still shot! What’s with this screen?!”

To be creative, you need to emulate the sports commentator. Why? Here’s Gene Perret, a comedy writer since the 1960s, on the subject:

“I’ve always been fascinated in watching sports on television at how sharp-eyed some of the commentators are. When I watch bowling, I just see the pins “explode.” The commentator, though, tells you exactly where each pin went. When I watch diving, I don’t know how many turns and spins that diver took. My eye can’t follow it. But the commentators know.

It’s not that their eyes are sharper and quicker; it’s just that they know what to look for, how to look for it, and where to look. They’re tuned in to that sport.”

Gene was talking about the importance of tuning in to comedy in order to write it, but the same principle applies to creativity in general. After all, comedy is about creativity: you need to catch the audience off-guard in order to surprise them into laughing, and unexpected connections are the mainstay of creativity.  Don’t worry about your quality at first, because it’ll be terrible. But the more you focus on making connections, the better you’ll get at it.

Daily Notes

morguefile.com

via morguefile

I keep a Google Doc of notes. It’s bookmarked, and easy to open in a few seconds. As I’m browsing the internet and reading, mulling over, and considering various bits of knowledge, I’ll copy and paste a few interesting things into my document, or I’ll type out something interesting that I thought of. The idea is that I’ll be able to remember my random thoughts and return at a time when I can use them. Sometimes stories come out of reading past thoughts that I’ve had.

I’ve kept a series of documents, starting in freshman year of college — my current one is titled “Notes 4.” They’re each a full year long, and about 60 printed pages each. It’s like a moleskine for the internet traveler.

Here’s an example of what one day notes might look like. It’s a little more than normal, but not too rare.

8/3/13

The mold on this sauce pan has started developing a democratic society.

That’s just a random joke I thought of… I’ll probably stick it in an Emmett story. I always try to fit a lot of one-liners into them.

 

I like the phrase “get a grip” a lot. Fun to say, good advice… I should make it a theme in a story or something.

Yes I should. People like stories with themes. Themes are good. What a useful thought.

 

“The last time a girl stared at me like that, she was a cardboard shampoo display.”

Another random joke. This one’s inspired by reddit.com, where someone posted about mistaking the shampoo display for a real girl. I like the thought.

 

Emmett – the dog and the dinosaur

Dinosaurs are, according to science, related to birds by a distant common ancestor. It only makes sense that if someone decapitates a dinosaur like a chicken, it would keep running around just like a chicken. In this 2700-word story, three college friends chase after a missing link that is a lot more ‘missing’ than they’d like.

This is a blurb that I wrote for a magazine submission that I made today. I’m trying to some of my Emmett stories in magazines before I self-publish them. Once the first publication rights are gone, it’s a lot less likely that magazines will want to print my stories. And the more exposure the better. Anyway, this paragraph served as a quick cover letter, but it describes the hook of the story pretty well, so I’m keeping it. Maybe once I release this episode as a podcast, I can describe it in the blog post with this bit of copy. 

 

Emmett note: Reference the [REDACTED] as being responsible for the [REDACTED].

Hmm, sorry about that… I thought I could share all of my notes for the day, but this one’s kinda sensitive. My Emmett stories are a little serialized, and this might explain something cool about the ending that I just realized I can do. Anyway, I’ll fully explain this sometime in 2014. Heh. Anywayyy.

 

More sources for 70s scifi art: I only got through numbers 1-16. There’s ssooo much.

http://scifiartgreats.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/vincent-di-fate-art/

This is information for my tumblr account on 70s Sci-Fi Art. I found a sweet source for art by Vincent Di Fate, and I don’t want to forget it. I can return to it whenever I need to find some quick art to post. Almost to 500 followers! I’m excited.

 

 

Looking and Leaping

Today I’ve got a special treat! I’m actually posting about my life, rather than reviewing something. Surprise. You have last semester’s class to thank: this is an assignment in which I had ten minutes to write an anecdote about my family.

That's a stairway, all right.

Everyone in my family uses eye correction. All eight of us. Sixteen, if you count individual eyes. My youngest sibling, Isaac, was one of the last to be diagnosed, and also underwent the most dramatic change as a result.

Isaac, my other brother Eric, and I all enjoyed jumping down stairs as kids, and Isaac would always launch himself gleefully down the entire carpeted flight with abandon, covering 12 steps in one leap despite being half as big as I was. When Isaac got glasses at age 7, this practice stopped. He abandoned his abandon.

Once Isaac saw his path a little more clearly, even though he has always brushed himself off after every past jump, he chose to play it safe. I’m not sure if there is a pat moral to this story, really. He may have missed out on something he considered beyond his ability, but to be honest it probably was. I mean, that sort of jumping can give you a lot of joint problems later in life.