Archive for June, 2014

Other Ten Percent 6/16/14

Jun 16 2014 Published by under Daily Posts

Man, I was going to do these big posts that tie together like 5 separate things but I kept deleting the drafts because it turns out those topics had nothing to do with each other. Instead lets just talk about one thing because honestly it’s enough.

Seriously, I’m basically having you guys read a book today. Did you guys know Film Critic Hulk basically wrote a screenwriting book? I didn’t before this weekend and its existence was basically the only really valuable thing I learned reading all of AVClub’s 391 articles on Game of Thrones for the finale.

It’s in the form of two blog posts (though he’s also had somebody edit the thing and released it as an eBook on Amazon and iBooks) and it touches on basically everything I’ve ever seen about writing for film or television and quite a few things that I hadn’t read before that were really valuable. Also he explains why indy movies have pissed me off for a decade in what’s basically an aside and I really appreciate that.

I kinda had a distressing class last week that subconsciously freaked me the hell out for a few days. I brought in something I didn’t think was working and hoped people would tell me it was secretly great. This is a terrible plan and I am never doing it again. The basic realization was that five years of writing regularly didn’t make me a hugely better TV writer since I wasn’t writing TV scripts. While I’m sure the experience will translate SOMEHOW at the moment I feel like I’m on a bit of a plateau where all my writing sucks and I can only see being better in the far far distance.

Anyway, reading all 30,000 words of that thing really helped me out. Not only did it help address the more philosophical concerns about how getting better just kinda sucks and takes a while there were several specific exercises to be doing that help me feel a sense of forward momentum while I keep walking through this flat plain of not being able to write scene direction to save my life.

No responses yet

Other Ten Percent 6/13/14

Jun 13 2014 Published by under Daily Posts

Man I wish I had a topic for today. I kicked around a half dozen at various points today that got rejected either for not being interesting enough (who wants to read about what I’ve learned about Hawaii?!?!) or too negative (Let’s discuss congress for 2000 words) or for just being too weird (I wanted to write a really detailed account of an occult ritual that ended up being how they chose the plot of the new Transformers movie). In the end I never came up with anything so join me in the next paragraph where I start writing words and then stop when I reach a natural end or just get to like 500 words and give up.

So when I was going to write up a whole thing about how incurably fucked the startup scene has left the political situation in San Fancisco it was going to be centered around the work of start up millionaires and billionaires to rebrand giving their companies tax breaks and avoiding any regulation as a newer, sexier kind of libertarianism. Sometimes this is hilariously literal as in the two guys who got Rand Paul to come speak at their rally for “conservatarians.”

But much more often it’s a way of rebranding the singularity as a fundamentally conservative endeavor, as in the case of these tweets by Venture Capital emperor and living Pillsbury Doughboy Marc Andreessen. Eventually tech startups will usher in a future where has to work and nobody dies and we all just get to sit around thinking big thoughts in between jumping tall buildings in our sweet robot bodies so the job of government, the logic goes, is to get the fuck out of the way so we get there as soon as possible. Anybody the tech industry destroys should be taken care of by a social safety net in the interim.

As that Slate article points out the hole in this logic is that the tech industry has no interest in building a social safety net and in fact does everything in its power to avoid contributing to one. But more and more since reading it I’ve been fascinated by the idea of them NOT doing that kind of bullshit double think.

Imagine if Google spent half the time it’s currently spending figuring out how to make self-driving cars that don’t flip out every time it snows figuring out how to feed everybody on earth. It’s not like there’s not radical tech solutions here, 3D printing, drones and pretty much every other high-tech thing Silicon Valley can’t stop drooling over has tremendous implications for stopping homelessness, world hunger, disease and war. The problem, of course, is that disrupting those things has no buyer. Remaking the world’s financial markets to disrupt inequality COSTS money. So why bother?

I’m not wild about the idea of Google replacing the government for any number of reasons. For starters I’m not actually ready to give up on actual government just yet, but so long as GOOGLE is this enthused about the idea of making social services obsolete I wish they’d fucking get to it already.

No responses yet

Other Ten Percent 6/12/14

Jun 12 2014 Published by under Daily Posts

I was going to keep writing about things that were driving me insane but I dunno, Hawaii kinda drained the indiscriminate rage right out of me until today’s post about the absolutely batshit political nature of SF became a much more positive post about how we really can dedicate ourselves to fixing the world and get that done through organized action became me feeling too chill to even write that up right now because I just generally felt like people are doing good things and life isn’t going so bad. So, instead of any of that I’m going to talk today about one of my favorite topics when I’m in a good mood: the impossibility of communication and how it isn’t really impossible and how we’re getting a handle on this you guys. Things are going to be O.K.

Continue Reading »

No responses yet

Other Ten Percent 6/11/14

Jun 11 2014 Published by under Daily Posts

Today we continue with our unofficial “nerds are awful” week by discussing this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo or “E3” the industry’s premiere convention for both watching CGI trailers that tell you what genre new video games are going to be in and being ushered into back rooms to watch somebody else play a game for 5 minutes while somebody explains how cool it will be when you get to play it yourself.
The part where people announce the video games that nobody’s going to wait in line to actually play at the actual convention center is winding down so I think it’s pretty safe to call what the big story of E3 is this year and it’s this Polygon story that has a really crazy web trick going on at the top of it. What is that, video? No it follows your cursor around. Jesus let me pull up the source here. This is some A+ Javascript bullshit. Somebody’s got a centerpiece for their portfolio now.
What? Video games? Oh sure I can break that part down for you.
Do you have a video game that you enjoy? They are making a sequel to it. Of course they are. Did they say that they wouldn’t for a long time? Don’t worry, they were lying. They were always going to make a new one because you will buy that video game. That thing you liked about the last game? There will be more of it in the new game. Development is still ongoing but they’re estimating there will be 2 to 3 times as much of that thing you like in the new version of the game that you enjoy.
Literally the only exception to this is Zelda which has just been doing that thing you like over again for so long that people don’t like it anymore, or, well, they still like it but they write long articles about how people shouldn’t like it anymore because it is the same thing. To combat that criticism Zelda will now do the thing you liked from another game in the same genre. This will work.
I don’t mean to say there’s nothing worthwhile at E3. I am not actually at E3. I have actually never attended E3. There was a year when I was a kid when it was in Atlanta and I thought about it but that was the year they stopped selling passes and you could only get in with press credentials and that wasn’t going to happen. I’m trying to say that what E3 is obsessed with is just about the least interesting part of video games if you ask anybody but 15 year old boys. So it’s a real shame the industry still thinks that’s the entire industry.

I’ve been to the Game Developers Conference a few times and it’s much more my speed. There’s still a lot of people trying to convince you to tell people to buy their video game but that stuff’s kinda pushed off to the sidelines. It’s all under NDA or a chance to play a cool update to a game people didn’t give enough of a chance. It’s all weird compared to E3 demos and it’s not even the center of the show. Most of GDC is centered around long talks and debates around the best ways to make video games technologically, philosophically, and, increasingly, morally.
What I’m trying to say is that at E3 that all gets reversed. Those discussions still go on but they go on off the show floor after all the CGI trailers and press releases that take up most of your day. When you and your buddies and their buddies who quit games journalism and now work at whatever game developer get together and have drinks you talk about all that same stuff to avoid thinking about all the work that you’re not doing that’ll keep you up all night. This week though all of that is off the record. You can’t talk about it in a news story if you want to still have buddies at the end of the conference.
And since the only thing you’re actually allowed to talk about is the trailer you linked to in the first paragraph if you know what your doing (or hid behind 5 paragraphs of bullshit and a “read more” link if you’re a jerk) what you actually talk about is subtext. This isn’t great for reporting since nobody likes writing up 800 words on something that MIGHT be happening but its even worse for the games industry because they’re really really bad at subtext. They’re bad at subtext about women. They’re bad at subtext about violence. They’re REALLY bad at subtext about violence against women. REALLY BAD.
The result is that even when I’m excited about the new games coming out (and I mean I’m buying the shit out of that open world Zelda game. I’m not made of stone.) E3 always leaves me feeling exhausted because it’s a week long celebration of the games industry’s complete disdain for its audience on every level. The strategy is always to show as little as possible (because games journalists can’t be trusted to know how development is actually going) of content that’s as generic as possible (because consumers can’t be trusted to buy new, scary things) and then by and large that plan works and I really need a drink.
Christ, maybe I should have gone to E3. The people there seem to have the right idea on how to react at least.

No responses yet

Other Ten Percent 6/10/14

Jun 10 2014 Published by under Daily Posts

So I actually wrote last night’s entry at the relatively “late” hour of 8pm Maui time and I’m writing this one up at a little before 9am which is a fairly short recharge time for OTP. I already had the next topic lined up (in fact I’ve got a full week lined up) but didn’t quite have the energy to address it once I got done writing up the rant about AI. What I’m saying is this might not be the longest OTP ever since I want to maximize for actually using commas correctly over length.

Continue Reading »

No responses yet

Other Ten Percent 6/9/14

Jun 09 2014 Published by under Daily Posts

Hello, I am in Hawaii. Why? Because Katherine just moved to LA and I am contractually obligated to be three time zones behind her. Also because Nikki really needed, and REALLY deserved, a vacation. You might have thought this would mean a complete disruption of OTP for the week and I would have thought that too. I did think that and I failed to warn you. My apologies from the timeline where that happened.
It turns out though that there’s only so many hours you can spend by the pool even when the pool has a water slide. If I’d told 14 year old me that he’d have slapped me, but, quite honestly, that’s just the beginning of 14 year old me’s problems. Point is I expected to not want to write anything when I got here but the result has actually been the exact opposite and I’m going to probably write really long OTPs all week since I’ve got a lot of topics I’ve stored up I haven’t used. I need to be writing more than I have been in general and I need to put more actually care into the process of writing. For instance I could be, you know, reading these things over before sending them out. Anyway, I’ve got no real idea on format here but I want to just write out thoughts on a few topics. Some of them are on the internet some of them aren’t. Here’s the first one.

Continue Reading »

No responses yet

Other Ten Percent 6/5/14

Jun 05 2014 Published by under Daily Posts

You know, I’ve gone on record in the past making fun of people for writing broad articles implicating any specific generation but ESPECIALLY millennials for ruining the economy. I’ve really stuck my neck out against people that wanted to make some broad statement that our entire generation was somehow more prone to failure than any other. But something has come to my attention and now I’m singing a different tune. They were right, they were all right. When fate handed us an opportunity to change history we didn’t embrace our chance, we all just ran.

We could have brought back mutton chops if only we had the nerve. Continue Reading »

No responses yet

Other Ten Percent 6/4/14

Jun 04 2014 Published by under Daily Posts

So it occurs to me, as I spend the day transcribing the same thing from Monday and writing random snippets of dialogue from the thing I outlined yesterday, that this format is probably deathly dull for all of you even as it kinda keeps me honest on actually doing stuff so ummmm I don’t quite know what to do about that yet. I feel like I have some responsibility to do the original thing I used to do if I’m going to be wasting all of your time with this newsletter but I’ve also outlined several times why I kinda think that format is dead. Maybe it’ll be another period of format experimentation? I know how much we all love that. Anyway, have some Luigi Death Stare.

No responses yet

Other Ten Percent 6/3/14

Jun 03 2014 Published by under Daily Posts

Hey here’s a quick thought. Why is everything Jack Kirby ever wrote not a band name already? KangaRat Murder Society is 10 times better than any band name I’ve heard this year. Anyway that was some great distracting yourself from doing work David but maybe you should do work.

—– Continue Reading »

No responses yet

Other Ten Percent: 6/2/14

Jun 02 2014 Published by under Daily Posts

Hello there. I’ve actually been writing a fair bit since I let this little corner of my web presence languish for like…a month but all of it, productive and unproductive, has been entirely invisible to you what with the never publishing anything on this website and everything. So now I’m going to try a new format where I just publish the first 500-1000 words of whatever I’m working on that day after a short little intro about life like this one. Maybe I’ll come back and post completed projects to give you an idea of the context, maybe I won’t. Maybe you’ll become so obsessed with something I write here that you’ll track me down to a Tibetan monastery where I have fled from the world of man after writing down dark truths that should never be revealed. Maybe you’ll find out I never existed in the first place and this whole blog is a figment of your imagination. Probably one of those first two things though.

Continue Reading »

No responses yet

« Prev