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  • Comment on Write Your Own Ending by north
    Yup, well said. Pretty much all right on this. It’s not that the ending is bad, per say, if you write it out on paper (though it’s not good). But it’s executed horribly.Report
  • Comment on The Internet Needs a Town Square by veronica d
    Or in this case “anti control” freak — if you see what I’m saying.Report
  • Comment on Write Your Own Ending by Jaybird
    I’ma gonna talk about pro wrestling for a second. There’s a thing in wrestling called “psychology”. It is usually the thing that pretentious people talk about being the difference between a 3 star match and a 5 star match. In a lot of television matches, it’s just a spotfest… that is to say they do some kicky-punchy, then some suplexes, then one gets thrown outside of the ring so the other can do a dive, then a finisher, then the pin and nothing really has anything to do with anything. In the best matches, though, there’s a story. The heel punches the babyface when the ref isn’t looking. The babyface is fighting clean against the heel and the heel brings it to a halt with a punch again. The babyface fights back, clean, and the heel punches the babyface and then slides out of the ring. Every time the babyface gets something going, the heel stops it by cheating with a punch and always behind the ref’s back. Whenever the babyface balls up his fist, the ref yells “HEY NO FISTS! PUNCHING IS ILLEGAL!” and, wouldn’t you know it, 10 seconds later the heel punches him again. If you’re in the audience, you’re yelling at this point. You’re yelling at the ref. Pointing at the heel. While the ref is looking at you in the audience and yelling back “LET ME DO MY JOB”, the heel punches the babyface *AGAIN*. If you finish this wrestling match with anything but the babyface *FINALLY* punching the heel in circumstances where the ref doesn’t see it, you’re not going to pay off the story you’ve told for the first 15 minutes of the match. You don’t even have to have the good guy *WIN*. He just has to get that punch. If you don’t pay off that punch, you’ve no business booking a match. If you don’t pay off that punch, you’d be better off telling the kids to go out there and do spots for 15 minutes than incurring that debt and never paying it off.Report
  • Comment on Write Your Own Ending by PD Shaw
    As a GoT reader, not viewer, I’ve been wondering if I should watch the show to get an ending, either the whole series or just the last part where the divergence occurs. Last nigh though, I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced. I may just pass.Report
  • Comment on Write Your Own Ending by George Turner
    I really hope Disney is re-thinking that. The GoT show runners have a skill set that’s redundant to what Disney has been working with so far, but has the same gaping weakness: No feel for what makes a story work, no idea what the central story lines should be, and no focus that would help them avoid getting lost in irrelevant details and side stories that are at best distractions. The shared strong points would be production design, costuming, sound, visual effects, staging, and cinematography, skills Disney already has in abundance for the SW franchise. From what I’ve seen in Season 8, the show runners would make excellent second unit directors, where they collaborate with a director who’s got the central story ideas and who can tell them what a scene is for, what it’s trying to accomplish, what kind of mood it needs, and how it’s supposed to fit with other scenes. But in terms of having a vision, seeing how a story is going to work, mapping out good arcs, plots, and beats, the higher-level of the creative craft? Not hardly. They seemed to do well when they were working through Martin’s books and selecting from the key elements of them. When they went beyond that, their weakness at understanding story and characters became pretty glaring. Last week I watched “Masterclass: Ron Howard Teaches Directing”, which I highly recommend. It’s almost 16 hours of Ron Howard explaining almost every aspect of what he does and why, along with a run through of producing a scene from rehearsal to shooting. A week or two before that I watched a similar class by Werner Herzog on filmmaking, which is also really good. I’m halfway through Martin Scorsese’s filmmaking class, and I’ve barely started on David Lynch’s class. I’m also partway through Samuel L Jackson’s acting class. I found them on the Internet, and they’re more interesting that most of what gets posted. Anyway, one thing they emphasis is understanding the story and what makes it work. Ron Howard goes into great depth about the iterative process of developing an idea or first draft script into something that’s going to work for viewers. He relates that even if he’s convinced that what he’s made holds together, at various stages he screens it for various friends or colleagues to see if they’re reacting like he’s reacting. This often brings problems to light, and he has to rework the script. That type of feedback doesn’t work with Yes men. From the way the GoT producers killed off actors with abandon, and how they constantly sprung surprise scripts on them, I’m inclined to think they weren’t really collaborating with the talent they had on hand. That’s not good, because often the actor has deeper insights into the character than the director does (both Ron Howard and Werner Herzog make that point). Of course sometimes they’re headed in a different direction than the director, and those differences always have to get ironed out quickly. But…
  • Comment on Write Your Own Ending by Michael Cain
    It’s not just a bad story, it’s a badly told bad story. I wonder if the people at Disney are re-thinking their decision to put the Star Wars franchise in the hands of the Game of Thrones show runners?Report
  • Comment on Write Your Own Ending by George Turner
    Writers still can’t figure out how to properly end “Sesame Street”. I have some ideas but they’d scar an entire generation for life. I commented on the writing failures on the previous episode, which denied the fans any emotional payoff for Cersei, plus denying them a real battle where Cersei is defeated as a military commander, and denying them any battle between good and evil, or competent and motivated versus incompetent and poorly motivated. It’s not just that GoT went for the “wrong” ending(s), it’s also that it didn’t even competently deliver those wrong endings. It’s not just a bad story, it’s a badly told bad story. For example, the destruction of King’s Landing barely made use of either Danyraes or Cirsei, who are supposed to be the central characters in conflict. The dragon didn’t really have a personality, either. They might as well have interrupted the battle with an erupting volcano that sent everyone running for their lives. Assume you agree with where the story was going as a goal for the episode, with Danyraes showing her monstrous, self-important nature and turning out to be even worse than Cersei. The writers botched the journey of letting that path unfold in a compelling or interesting way. It’s like spending eight years in your den carefully positioning tin soldiers for a recreation of Waterloo, and then having your four year kid old storm in and smash them all with a rock because he wants to see “moar” destruction. A four-year old wants to smash things is about the only depth you can get out of it. In the finale they went for, the writers could have had a long and deep introspective segment where Danyraes and her supporters realize how badly she just screwed up. That could be a rich and rewarding set of scenes as she realizes that she is her own worst enemy, that she is the monster she was so worried about protecting people from, a deep character moment. It’s right there as an obvious and satisfying element to the path the writers had chosen, but they didn’t deliver that, either. Danyraes doesn’t gain any self-awareness, stays blind and deluded, and Jon is too afraid to vent the anger and outrage that all the viewers felt. Instead he indulged her fantasy and then suddenly dirked her over. But they didn’t even milk that screw up for much emotional impact. Most of the rest of the episode was just a waste of screen time, covering trivial details and completely unimportant subjects that nobody has ever cared about, such as Brienne updating a copy of Who’s Who, or figuring out budget details on city reconstruction even though there are only a handful of surviving inhabitants. A debate over prioritizing brothel repairs? There aren’t any hookers, pimps, or johns left, so how would they even rationally discuss it? The scene is dumber than all the parodies of “Hitler’s Bunker” with fake subtitles about pizza delivery or cell phone calling plans. We…
  • Comment on Write Your Own Ending by Jaybird
    Whenever I find myself tempted to say “but it was different when I did it!”, I try to remind myself that, no, it wasn’t. One thing of note is that Mass Effect 3 also had multiple different writers and the while the first two were written by the one guy were *AWESOME* and the finale, which sucked, was written by hired guns.Report
  • Comment on Write Your Own Ending by DensityDuck
    ME3 was different, to me, because it seemed like the writers there genuinely didn’t know that they were exploring well-trod ground with their story. Like they honestly thought “it’s a cycle of seeding, growth, and harvest by vast intelligences beyond our understanding” was something nobody had ever written about before.Report
  • Comment on Write Your Own Ending by rexknobus
    I did my own ending to the original “Twin Peaks,” and I have to (incredibly immodestly) say that I’m very proud of it. Got it to Lynch, just in hopes that he might get a kick out of it. Never heard back. Not surprising — my take was somewhat more grounded and explanatory than his. But it was meant as a tribute and a homage to an all-time favorite show. But the writing of my version, and the playing of my version in my head after re-watching the original (to me unsatisfactory) ending helps bring a better bit of closure for me than the actual last episode does. (It was actually quite a project — early 90s, using early versions of Photoshop and Pagemaker to complete a visual summary of the show and characters to introduce the script. Low res these days, but pretty cool back then!)Report
  • Comment on Baseball vs Golf by Kolohe
    When this was first created, Voight apparently was coming off a bit of a scandal and/or controversy regarding his amateur vs pro status (the into to this makes it look like a more complete story, though I don’t have an account to read the whole thing)Report
  • Comment on Write Your Own Ending by Jaybird
    Also: I am still pissed off about Mass Effect 3.Report
  • Comment on Justin Amash Sent Some Tweets by Chip Daniels
    “Gummy vertebra” is not quite the compliment you think it is.Report
  • Comment on Justin Amash Sent Some Tweets by DensityDuck
    Like, I remember when suddenly Mitt Romney was a liberal hero because he said that Trump was a bad guy. And I’m like, you guys are talking about “Binders Full Of Women” Mitt Romney? “Russia is going to be a problem” Mitt Romney? dog-on-the-car Mitt Romney? shaved some dude’s head Mitt Romney? Remember how lit up you got about all those things and now you’re talking like Mitt Romney is the adult in the room, the one we should all be listening to?Report
  • Comment on Elizabeth Warren Is Rooting for Daenerys Targaryen in ‘Game of Thrones’ by Jaybird
    “I wonder if anyone will ask Elizabeth Warren about this…”, you may have been thinking. NEW: @ewarren now says Daenerys Targaryen is "not the best choice" to sit on the iron throne (#GOT scooplet via @alivitali) pic.twitter.com/fkAscagMix — Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) May 19, 2019 https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsReport
  • Comment on Ordinary Bookclub: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality (Chapters 78-87) by North
    I very much enjoyed the second phoenix’s arrival and test of Harry. An important chapter and one that paid off and paid in advance for a lot of Harry’s insufferable-ness before and after that event.Report
  • Comment on Justin Amash Sent Some Tweets by Jaybird
    GOP Rep. Justin Amash (MI-03) draws a primary challenge after announcing support for impeachment — State Rep. Jim Lower (MI-70), in radio interview this AM: "Today, we’re announcing that I am going to challenge Congressman Amash in the Republican primary" https://t.co/F8zzf09t0E — David Wright (@DavidWright_CNN) May 20, 2019 https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsReport
  • Comment on Sunday Morning! “Constellation of Genius” by Rufus F.
    I think that is true that the 20s had a wider influence in the general consciousness. But a lot of what came out of nowhere in the 70s eventually bubbled up into the larger culture. It just took longer. I doubt that one in a million people knew about DJ Kool Herc in 1974, for instance, and the Bronx was definitely the periphery then, but arguably hip hop has had a larger influence on popular music than anything else- it just took a while. (On the other hand, I think Rapper’s Delight is still the highest selling 45 single of all time.)Report
  • Comment on Baseball vs Golf by Jaybird
    “Nobody hits the roundball like Sully!” “I’ve never seen someone handle the stick like he does!”Report
  • Comment on Write Your Own Ending by George Turner
    Dark Angel and Terminator: Sarah Conner Chronicles both wrote themselves into a corner and got canceled. Dark Angel was premised on a genetically engineered super-soldiers created by a secret government program, and the plot was driven by their need to stay hidden from the military goons who were trying to hunt them down before the public found out. A season finale ended with the genetic mutants going public on the TV news, and I suppose the network realized that the writers couldn’t figure out a full season of answers to what should happen next. Terminator: SCC ended a season with a time jump into the future, where the young John Connor was going to meet his older self, and I guess they ran out of ideas, too. Tellingly, Lena Headey, who played both Sarah Connor and Cersei Lannister, at least had no ending instead of a horribly ending, one so bad that it will resonate through the ages.Report
  • Comment on Write Your Own Ending by Jaybird
    Daenarys: You know nothing, Jon Snow! Jon Snow: I know I will stop you! Ron Weasley: After I help take you down, Weasley will be their King! Doctor Who: You will shortly be a sinister puddle! Ash: This is my boom-stick! Gimli: And my axe!Report
  • Comment on Write Your Own Ending by Pinky
    I also mentally wrote a fan fiction for Angel, set in the final episode. It consists of seven lines: Lorne: “So, we’re really going to do the Michael Corleone thing?” Spike: “What’s that?” Lorne: “Michael Corleone? The baptism scene in ‘The Godfather’? One of the greatest movies of all time?” Spike: “Never seen it.” Lorne: “Well, that does it. This weekend, you, me, popcorn, ‘The Godfather’. We’ll make a night of it.” Spike: “You realize that by this weekend, we’re all going to be trapped in a hell dimension, being tortured for all eternity, right?” Lorne: “Right. OK, ‘The Godfather 3’ then.”Report
  • Comment on Ordinary Bookclub: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality (Chapters 78-87) by Jaybird
    I assume, at this point, she’s bathing in her false memories. (And, yeah, I was going to say something about how these chapters are more “intense” than “fun” at this point. I was reminded of the evolution of the books themselves… the Philosopher’s Stone was about as intense as a particularly scary Scooby Doo episode. Order of the Phoenix involved discussion of Rights Theory. The last one was a WWII novel. It was a strange phenomenon and this fanfic has recreated it.)Report
  • Comment on Write Your Own Ending by Pinky
    I watched Supernatural excitedly for the first two seasons, consistently for the next three, then sporadically, then not at all. I guess I wrote a fan fiction in my head during Season 5, and preferred it to what actually happened, and could never really get my connection back to the show. The brothers were pursuing Lucifer in Season 5. The show had been building up to the Apocalypse. They made a desperate attempt to kill Lucifer using the gun that could kill just about anything, but he survived it. Then the season went on to finish in a way that they clearly hadn’t planned on, just so they could keep the story going because the show got renewed. In my head, they shot Lucifer, and he died. In the middle of the season. No Apocalypse. Everyone stumped. From there, they would have had to write furiously to make the season make sense, but it would have opened the show up for literally anything.Report
  • Comment on Write Your Own Ending by Kristin Devine
    thanks!Report
  • Comment on Write Your Own Ending by Kristin Devine
    oh wow I did not know that, how amazing! Poor guy, who among us hasn’t hated how something we wrote came out!Report
  • Comment on Sunday Morning! “Constellation of Genius” by LeeEsq
    Great bursts of artistic creative might not require an overall breakdown like World War I but they do seem to require a lot of deep seated cultural and social tensions just simmering over. Turn of the century Vienna, La Belle Epoque France, and Silver Age Imperial Russia produced a lot of great art, music, literature, and theater but they were not peaceful societies. The first was dealing with the ethnic tensions of the late Habsburg monarchy. La Belle Epoque France was undergoing a massive culture war between liberal secularists and conservative Catholics. Russia had the Romanovs desperately trying to remain absolute monarchs, pogroms against Jews, and the social upheavals of mass industrialization in an illiterate peasant society.Report
  • Comment on Sunday Morning! “Constellation of Genius” by LeeEsq
    Saul, you should know better. Of course, there was something like a hipster during the 1920s. There were always young people kind of trying to live the artistic and Bohemian life, different from their contemporaries, and somewhat succeeding or failing. The 1920s hipsters probably want to jazz clubs and speak easies a lot. I think Dorothy Parker of the New Yorker, during her younger years, when she covered NYC’s nightlife was a 1920s version of the hipster. Really mainly living and writing about the scene rather than creating it but enjoying it immensely.Report
  • Comment on Write Your Own Ending by George Turner
    Trending on Twitter: #NotMyKing Some pretty good stuff there!Report
  • Comment on Write Your Own Ending by George Turner
    Or end it with one of the popular actors waking up in bed in a Holiday Inn Express, perhaps beside some other actor in the show, and saying “I had the strangest dream, but the ending was horrifying!”Report
  • Mon, 20 May 2019 20:17:46 +0000: Comment on Write Your Own Ending by north - Comments for Ordinary Times
    Yup, well said. Pretty much all right on this. It's not that the ending is bad, per say, if you write it out on paper (though it's not good). But it's executed horribly.
  • Mon, 20 May 2019 20:04:55 +0000: Comment on The Internet Needs a Town Square by veronica d - Comments for Ordinary Times
    Or in this case "anti control" freak -- if you see what I'm saying.
  • Mon, 20 May 2019 19:56:53 +0000: Comment on Write Your Own Ending by Jaybird - Comments for Ordinary Times
    I'ma gonna talk about pro wrestling for a second. There's a thing in wrestling called "psychology". It is usually the thing that pretentious people talk about being the difference between a 3 star match and a 5 star match. In a lot of television matches, it's just a spotfest... that is to say they do some kicky-punchy, then some suplexes, then one gets thrown outside of the ring so the other can do a dive, then a finisher, then the pin and nothing really has anything to do with anything. In the best matches, though, there's a story. The heel punches the babyface when the ref isn't looking. The babyface is fighting clean against the heel and the heel brings it to a halt with a punch again. The babyface fights back, clean, and the heel punches the babyface and then slides out of the ring. Every time the babyface gets something going, the heel stops it by cheating with a punch and always behind the ref's back. Whenever the babyface balls up his fist, the ref yells "HEY NO FISTS! PUNCHING IS ILLEGAL!" and, wouldn't you know it, 10 seconds later the heel punches him again. If you're in the audience, you're yelling at this point. You're yelling at the ref. Pointing at the heel. While the ref is looking at you in the audience and yelling back "LET ME DO MY JOB", the heel punches the babyface *AGAIN*. If you finish this wrestling match with anything but the babyface *FINALLY* punching the heel in circumstances where the ref doesn't see it, you're not going to pay off the story you've told for the first 15 minutes of the match. You don't even have to have the good guy *WIN*. He just has to get that punch. If you don't pay off that punch, you've no business booking a match. If you don't pay off that punch, you'd be better off telling the kids to go out there and do spots for 15 minutes than incurring that debt and never paying it off.
  • Mon, 20 May 2019 19:27:25 +0000: Comment on Write Your Own Ending by PD Shaw - Comments for Ordinary Times
    As a GoT reader, not viewer, I've been wondering if I should watch the show to get an ending, either the whole series or just the last part where the divergence occurs. Last nigh though, I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced. I may just pass.
  • Mon, 20 May 2019 19:16:45 +0000: Comment on Write Your Own Ending by George Turner - Comments for Ordinary Times
    I really hope Disney is re-thinking that. The GoT show runners have a skill set that's redundant to what Disney has been working with so far, but has the same gaping weakness: No feel for what makes a story work, no idea what the central story lines should be, and no focus that would help them avoid getting lost in irrelevant details and side stories that are at best distractions. The shared strong points would be production design, costuming, sound, visual effects, staging, and cinematography, skills Disney already has in abundance for the SW franchise. From what I've seen in Season 8, the show runners would make excellent second unit directors, where they collaborate with a director who's got the central story ideas and who can tell them what a scene is for, what it's trying to accomplish, what kind of mood it needs, and how it's supposed to fit with other scenes. But in terms of having a vision, seeing how a story is going to work, mapping out good arcs, plots, and beats, the higher-level of the creative craft? Not hardly. They seemed to do well when they were working through Martin's books and selecting from the key elements of them. When they went beyond that, their weakness at understanding story and characters became pretty glaring. Last week I watched "Masterclass: Ron Howard Teaches Directing", which I highly recommend. It's almost 16 hours of Ron Howard explaining almost every aspect of what he does and why, along with a run through of producing a scene from rehearsal to shooting. A week or two before that I watched a similar class by Werner Herzog on filmmaking, which is also really good. I'm halfway through Martin Scorsese's filmmaking class, and I've barely started on David Lynch's class. I'm also partway through Samuel L Jackson's acting class. I found them on the Internet, and they're more interesting that most of what gets posted. Anyway, one thing they emphasis is understanding the story and what makes it work. Ron Howard goes into great depth about the iterative process of developing an idea or first draft script into something that's going to work for viewers. He relates that even if he's convinced that what he's made holds together, at various stages he screens it for various friends or colleagues to see if they're reacting like he's reacting. This often brings problems to light, and he has to rework the script. That type of feedback doesn't work with Yes men. From the way the GoT producers killed off actors with abandon, and how they constantly sprung surprise scripts on them, I'm inclined to think they weren't really collaborating with the talent they had on hand. That's not good, because often the actor has deeper insights into the character than the director does (both Ron Howard and Werner Herzog make that point). Of course sometimes they're headed in a different direction than the director, and those differences always have to get ironed out quickly. But anyway, if the production became a very top-down, top-secret, commands-from-on-high management structure, which is what it sounds like from the interviews and rumors, a total train wreck of a production isn't surprising. Characters whose actions are almost completely out-of-character? On a series, that's usually the result of bringing in a new producer or director who doesn't bother absorbing the canon or picking up the finer points established in the previous episodes, but it also requires a breakdown in the dialog between the director and the actors, who will look at the script and think it makes no sense. "My character would never do that because..." So we have Arya becoming a wallflower. Jon Snow becoming as timid as Samuel Tarley <i>after</i> he's found out he's not a nobody, and then sheepishly scuffling back to the Wall. Brienne becoming a weak-kneed romantic. Sansa becoming an ice queen, rejecting the Seven Kingdom's just as her own dear brother takes them over. That leads to mild and harmless Bran plotting his inevitable ascendance to the Iron Throne. And there's Jamie intimidated and extorted by some thieving ruffian. Cersei stepping back and becoming a passive spectator in the battle to maintain her own rule against Danyraes. Danyraes turning her back on all her advisors right after losing one of her closest ones. Tyrion picking as king someone he knew almost nothing about, and who hadn't really made a single decision that would give an insight into his character. It's like they were puppets, commanded to do what the script required due to production schedules, not coherent characters who were real people. Disney's Star Wars already has that down in spades. "Luke is now a spoiled brat. With the decisive battle imminent, he just Skypes it in." They don't need more of that.