Contributing writer for The Artifice.
Junior Contributor II
Comparing the Differences Between Sherlock and Elemenary
Sherlock Holmes has had many renditions, but BBC’s Sherlock and CBS’s Elementary came out about the same time. BBC’s Sherlock takes the stance that Sherlock is a high functioning sociopath while CBS’s Sherlock is a recovering addict. These renditions affect how other characters in the series were represented as well as how they interact with him. How do these differences compare to the books and do both versions show a strong representation of a version of Sherlock Holmes in their own right?
How is Japanese Horror (J-Horror) Distinct from Other Horror Genres?
Analyze and discuss how j-horror is distinct from other genres of horror, particularly its defining characteristics and notable directors or narratives (i.e. What makes them notable, to you as a viewer and the overall field?) Discuss its historical and recent developments. Have there been any emergent prominent themes? Compare it to remakes.
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How to maintain your motivation to write
The struggle with motivation and focus can be helped by habit. I’m a fan of two steps, which has worked well for me, although of course everybody’s different.
1. Have some sort of master plan: an outline, a flowchart, a spreadsheet, a detailed synopsis, an index card for each scene, or whatever other organizational method works for you. Know the whole story before you begin writing; most novels that remain incomplete are that way because the writer started without knowing where he was going and how to get there. For a first novel, a plan is vital. Maybe you can write your second without one, but first you need to know you can finish a work that big.
2. Once your whole story is planned out, try the BIC method. That’s your butt in chair for a set amount of time every day, minimum 30 minutes. (An hour or more is better. You want to write this novel or not?) During BIC time you have two options, and only two. You may write, or you may not write. You can’t be online, have the TV on in the background, read or send texts or instant messages, play a computer game, do writing-related research, read what you’ve already written, adjust your outline, eat, smoke, or anything else. Write or don’t, period. (Those who give themselves BIC of more than an hour can schedule a break if they must have one–but it doesn’t count as part of the BIC time.) If others in the household might disturb you, you need to find a way to make that not happen, like doing it while they’re at work or school, asleep, or take your BIC time at the library or a coffeehouse. Most days, you’ll write. On the best days, you’ll ‘catch fire’ and go beyond your assigned time, which is great. However, you can’t amass credit. The next day, you still owe the same amount of BIC time as every other day.
Teaching yourself to write even when it doesn’t come easily or you don’t feel like it is part of the road to being a professional writer whose work other people pay to see.
The Obscure Shakespeare
Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth – these plays could be considered the "Holy Trinity" for Shakespeare in academia; these plays seem to be the ones that are introduced to students most often and at the earliest ages (with an occasional Othello or King Lear thrown into the mix).
Why are these three plays seemingly the most prevalent in English classes? Some of the more "obscure" Shakespeare plays are, arguably, just as good for both reading and teaching as the aforementioned ones. Consider Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night, Coriolanus, or the history plays (Richard/Henry) and how they would fare as a student’s first exposure to Shakespeare, as opposed to Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Macbeth.
The Power of Modern Children's Cartoons
Recent animated shows airing mainly on The Disney Channel and Cartoon Network have established quite a large following among high school and college students. Why is this? Can it be said that recent cartoons initially targeted at children have taken on deeper meanings beyond young entertainment, while teaching some moral values along the way? With shows like Adventure Time, Steven Universe, Gravity Falls, and Over the Garden Wall attracting a more mature audience than probably anticipated, what does this reveal about the nature of these cartoons.
Beowulf and the Big Screen - Modern Adaptations of Medieval Works
One of the biggest reasons why the most recent Beowulf movie (2007) was so disappointing to some viewers is because it deviated too much from the original text, mainly in regards to Grendel’s mother and the circumstances of Beowulf’s death.
Is it important for modern adaptations of medieval works in film to be true to the text? How much liberty can/should be taken with a text before it "goes too far" and loses the original flavor of the work? Does this liberty affect how people view the original text, and is this an important thing to consider when making such a film?
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What makes someone a film snob?
"A person who believes himself or herself an expert or connoisseur in a given field and is condescending toward or disdainful of those who hold other opinions or have different tastes."
I have no problem with this definition but it does raise a question.
Primarily, how important is it that the person believes themselves to be an expert vs actually being an expert in film?
From the little definitions of "snob" that I looked up, a common element is the superficiality of differences that the snob sees and looks downward at the person just because of the superficial difference that isn’t an indicator of any intelligence.
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Films that deal with a society in a state of profound change
One of the most interesting – at least to me – ‘thematic explorations’ in film is seeing works that depict a society in a state of profound, often radical change. Ozu was perhaps the very best at doing this. As Wim Wenders said:
"Ozu’s films again and again tell the same simple story, always of the same people and the same city: Tokyo. This chronicle, spanning nearly 40 years, depicts the transformaton of life in Japan. Ozu’s films deal with the slow deterioration of the Japanese family, and thereby with the deterioration of a national identity."
I can’t think of any other Japanese director that examined the disintegration of the postwar family, and the country’s sense of national identity with more profundity, depth and attention than Ozu.
Werner Herzog’s Heart of Glass (Herz aus Glas (1976)) is also a fantastic film that looks into a small, isolated village being impacted by the effects of industrialisation.
Further, many Italian neorealist films did a remarkable job at looking into a society completely brutalised by war, and the consequences of a collapsed fascist regime.