Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tips from Kevin Smith and Wil Wheaton

Next week I'll resume answering reader questions, but today I'll limit myself to pointing you towards other useful corners of the internet, starting with a really interesting Kevin Smith interview at Ain't It Cool News. Below I've reprinted a rather interesting excerpt that I'm sure will give you all plenty to chew over.

"Everyone thinks there’s a hard, fast rule on what it is, what film is. And, there’s not. It’s something to everybody. That’s why you’ll meet people who are, like, "My favorite movie is JUWANNA MANN," and you just wanna be, like, "What the fuck?" But, guess what, he’s right, or she’s right. It’s so subjective. It’s, like, everything that surrounded them…I mean, that’s the thing…The cineasts, the chilly, cold cineasts just want you to ‘judge the work,’ but, it’s, like, you can’t just judge the work. Nobody just judges the work, man, like, you know, you’re informed…The reason JUWANNA MANN is your favorite movie is not because it’s a great film, but it’s because the night you saw it, man, was when you found out, like, this girl that you really liked did like you back. Or, omigod, that was when we found out we were pregnant, when we saw JUWANNA MANN. Or, omigod, my dog died that day, and then I saw JUWANNA MANN. It took my mind off it. And, plus, it was funny, and the popcorn was so fuckin’ good that night. And, I’ve never had a better blend of soda. So many factors go into it, dude. It’s ridiculous for people to be, like, "I’m going to divorce myself from all of these outside other things, and I’m just going to concentrate on the art."

"It doesn’t work like that. Moviegoing has never been that. And, all the staid critics in the world can’t turn it into that. It’s everything. It’s that fuckin' piece of shit that cut you off on the way in to the fuckin’ movie theater. It’s the fact that you had to park in the back row, and it was fuckin’ drizzling, and so you get in there wet, and you’re fat and you’re sweaty, like I do when you walk, ’cause you sweat when you fuckin’ breathe. And then you sit down. The fuckin’ trailers, you couldn’t even hear ‘em, looked like it was projected through a glass of milk, and you had to get up and tell the motherfuckers, "Would you fuckin’ project it right…or, the sounds not up." And, you sit down and finally watch the movie. And then, it washes over you. But, all this other stuff informs it as well.

"And, that’s the way it should be. Just judging the film itself, it’s like, why bother? Film is communication. It’s me talking to you. It’s the filmmaker talking to the audience."

And since I'm sure many of you are headed for some long car trips this weekend, may I suggest some fun podcasts? One of my favorite bloggers and all-around awesome guys, Wil Wheaton, recently wrote a book called Memories of the Future. The book humorously reviews the first thirteen episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, on which Wheaton appeared as Wesley Crusher.

To promote the book, Wheaton has spent the last three months recording weekly podcasts in which he performs excerpts from each entry. There are moments in these that are laugh-out-loud funny, particularly if you've ever seen any of the... shall we say... uneven episodes that formed the first season of TNG.

In addition to some ribbing of the show, Wheaton manages to sneak in a few writing tips. In the podcast for Lonely Among Us, he rails against overly expositional dialogue, humorously remarking that at times, the show fell into a pattern of just having characters enter a scene with no motivation beyond saying something for the audience's benefit... or as he puts it:

"Uh, I've got some exposition to drop off here. Could you sign for it? Where should I put it?"

There's also a great moment in the podcast for The Battle where he finally understands why his character was so hated for so long by many Trek fans.

I haven't actually read Memories of the Future yet (hint, hint for those looking for a stocking stuffer for me this holiday season) but in addition to the podcasts I have read Wheaton's TV Squad posts that essentially formed the first drafts of these entries. It's clear that the book itself is even more densely packed with jokes, and I'm sure it's well worth the read.

Happy Turkey Day, y'all.

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