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The Rise of the Premium Web Series

Analyzing the paradigm shift created by the new studios (Netflix, Amazon, HBO) and how they’ve given courage to a new breed of content creators (YouTube Red, AwesomenessTV, Vimeo Originals). What is the result? The emergence of Netflix-worthy shows on a whole new array of platforms, and a race for other media companies to become "content creators."

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    Video Games and Crowdfunding: A Retrospective

    Kickstarter is the crowdfunding platform many video game developers have turned to in order to fund the development of their personal project. Take a look back at the biggest games of the last five years that have been created with the help of Kickstarter (Undertale, Mighty No. 9, Shovel Knight, etc.). What caused some of them to succeed upon release? What made some of these games disappoint backers and players alike when they released?

    • This topic is so good. It is incredibly relevant to the current gaming landscape. With Yooka Laylee out soon and Bloodstained: ritual of the night coming in 2018, the topic is not going away.Shovel Knight is a fantastic game and has thrived really well, with new expansions coming out every year or so. It has a great following. Mighty No. 9 was extremely disappointing for a variety of reasons. – SeanGadus 1 day ago
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    • A lot of people are losing hope in projects that feature in Kickstarter just like how people now naturally assume that Steam greenlight is filled with shovelware. A lot of people ought to know this is a platform that has made success possible for a lot of determined developers. The message seems to be deteriorating as time passes. – TheUbiquitousAnomaly 1 day ago
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    British Originals versus American Adaptations: Which is more successful Shameless or The Office.

    Compare the success or failure between the original British creations and American versions of Shameless and The Office. Argue which version is more successful and the reasons why. Address the cultural difference that may have contributed to the popularity of the show.

    • I do think a big part of the argument would be exploring the cultural differences in how drama and comedy are expressed. Our traditional slapstick vs thier dry, witty humor; our drama tends to feel more exaggerated while theirs feels grounded in harsh reality.American versions of both these shows made American changes for the better or worse? How have these changes translated for audiences when there is access to the originals? – C N Williamson 11 months ago
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    • It would be useful to define what success is. – JDJankowski 11 months ago
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    The Endurance of Gatsby

    Analyze what makes The Great Gatsby such an enduring piece of literature — the 1920s was long ago, as is its culture, and yet we continue to read the book and see pieces of ourselves in the characters. What is it about the writing, the scenario, or the characters that continue relentlessly, beat on, boats against the current?

    • interesting take, worth looking in to! – Slaw17 21 hours ago
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    Blurred Lines: The Surge in Branded Content and Advertainment

    Examine the incorporation of branded marketing in the history of film and TV, and how the normalization of sponsored content has allowed for successful films like The Lego Movie to branded documentary series like Margot vs. Lily by NikeWomen. Is it changing the world of advertising or is it changing the world of entertainment?

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      Indictators of talent in creative writing

      There are many talented writers, but many people still argue whether it’s nature vs. nurture. Is being a good writer a mix of the two, or is it solely based on talent? Also, what are some signs of talent or potential in someone’s writing?

      • It can be a mix of the two or one or the other. Personally, I showed a talent in writing from an early age. I passed with flying colors on literature and writing exams, and was always nominated to participate in school spelling bees. As I entered college, I tried pursuing the sciences, but that eventually led me back to writing. This is a great topic, but I feel as if there isn't a particular answer simply because it varies from person-to-person. Some individuals don't realize their talent until much later in their lifetime, where as for others it can be during adolescence. – Marina 5 months ago
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      • Very true. It is a mix of both talent and hard work ethic. – Afanos 5 months ago
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      • The answer is fairly simple - it's is a mix of both nature and nurture. Understanding the answer is a little more difficult. Writing is a hard skill and can be taught to just about anyone. However within this hard skill are many soft skills like creativity and problem solving which can not always be taught. That's why the degrees of good writing vary so widely and why we cannot say for certain that everyone is good by nature or even that everyone can one day be good by nurture. – ashleyab 2 months ago
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      • Some is definitely nature; I've loved books and words since I was a little kid. But no writer ever reaches his or her potential without mentoring. Additionally, writers are always going to have different sub-gifts. One might be gifted at dialogue while another is better at setting, or one writer's talent might lend itself to poetry over fiction. Much of what is considered "creative writing" can't be taught strictly speaking, but can be nurtured. – Stephanie M. 2 months ago
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      • Both Stephanie M. and ashleyab have very good points. I think the experience varies from writer to writer and each person contains a slightly different nature to nurture ratio. Personally, I have always been attracted to rich stories. Creating characters, scenarios, and dialogue seemed to come naturally but I had to be taught to write it down effectively. – ReidaBookman 2 days ago
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      Gender Roles and Sexuality in New Blockbuster Films

      Analyze how the portrayal of gender roles and sexuality has changed during the last years and how it has changed in recent blockbuster films. For example the inclusion of a homosexual character in Disney’s Beuty and a Beast (2017) and in the upcoming Power Rangers (2017) film.

      • I do love the topic, and though I feel like a lot of people have tried to tackle this, the fact that you are limiting this to blockbusters might take this discussion into a slightly different direction than usual (aka whoever writes this won't necessarily focus on the tragic gay story that dominated indie movies, or the recent "burn your gays" movement in TV shows. Though, even those might have their place, so I'd leave that to the writer's discretion). That being said, I'm thinking whoever writes this might like to focus the topic some more considering that even in the blockbuster realm, different genres of movies have different histories that point to various forms of progress/regress. Beauty and the Beast, for instance, might speak to the way representation of LGBT peeps is (very) tentatively making its way into children's movies, while the Power Rangers might open the discussion about how homosexuality might/might not challenge the hyper masculinity of male heros and the hypersexuality of female ones for instance (I have yet to see either, so these are mostly guesses, but it still feels like both movies could potentially lead to different discussions). In any case, I still think its a super relevant topic today and welcome more discussions on the matter. For Disney, their "easter egg" gay man in Frozen could be used for contrast when establishing a timeline, and in superheros, the erasure of Mystic's bisexuality and Deadpool's one being still pending could be interesting to look at. – Rina Arsen 1 week ago
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      The Significance of Live-Action Remakes of Classic Cartoons

      Recent years have witnessed the emergence of live-action remakes of classic Disney films including Cinderella (2015), Maleficient (2014), The Jungle Book (2016), and Beauty and the Beast (2017). The trend is ongoing, with Disney planning many more adaptations in the coming years. Can the popularity of live-action remakes be reduced to nostalgia, or is it reflective of a lack of creativity on the part of studios? On the other hand, do live-action remakes offer something new to viewers, and does the genre provide opportunities for filmmakers to explore new themes?

      • This is a question that's been dwindling in the back of my mind for some time. I've mostly assumed this to be a lack of creativity and a need for more income but I would be very interested to see what live-action remakes have to offer. Given that the author has done their research and looked into all the possible aspects of this prompt I think it could be a very good article and may conjure some good discussion. – ReidaBookman 5 days ago
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      • I think there is definitely something to be gained here. A place to start would be the change of the elephants in the live action Jungle Book. The singing marching tanters (who are enjoyable) are transformed into animals perceived as gods in their jungle. This contrast provides an interesting view, and would make for great discussion. – McCooper 2 days ago
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      Does Writing Fiction Ruin the Experience of Reading It?

      I am a fiction writer and voracious fiction reader, so I like this topic. Yet I feel like I shouldn’t write it since it would be in first person, so it’s up for grabs.

      Do any fiction writers out there find their craft ruins the reading experience? For example, do you catch yourself zeroing in on when an author tells instead of shows, or when characters are undeveloped? Do books you once liked become tedious? If yes, how do you–and we as writers–cope with that? Is there a way to keep one’s craft from ruining reading? Conversely, does writing make reading a great book even better, and does it enhance one’s taste in literature?

      • I love the topic! I also write myself and I do often have this issue of honing in one possible mistakes or weaknesses in stories (writing- or even story-wise) that my friends miss. But I also think it's given me a higher appreciation for works I do love and that are written very well. Of course, this would be a subjective topic for anyone to write, but I do think you're onto something. – Karen 2 months ago
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      • I love this topic. I think some solutions should be addressed to help writers read without criticizing. – DB752B 2 months ago
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      • This is a great questions. Fiction has long been a part of literature and who knows if it has its own downsides. – BMartin43 2 months ago
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      • I like this topic, and I think it could be written with an open-ended conclusion. I.e. writing might "ruin" reading in some ways, but it vastly improves it in others. I do find that as a writer, I notice weak plot devices or predictable character development far more than I used to or than other readers. As Karen noted, however, I also appreciate some things more, like artfully dropped foreshadowing, beautiful symbolism, or unique scenes. For me, these positive results outweigh the negative, but this could be argued either way. I also think it can relate to tv (I can't stand some shows just because the script is poorly written, while my friends are able to excuse that for high quality acting and cinematography) but it's up to the writers discretion to note this or not. – EmmaBeitzel 2 months ago
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      • I definitely agree writing fiction gives you a better eye for good books, although what is "good" remains subjective. I've also noticed it gives me a better idea of what I want my writing voice to sound like, so whoever writes the topic could discuss that if they wanted. – Stephanie M. 2 months ago
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      • I love writing fiction too, and I like see it all as a learning experience. I ask myself if these lacking characteristics of the book tie-in to the narrative, and whether or not my dislike of it is just a personal opinion. Then when I write my own works, I am sometimes inspired by these elements and then I deviate or incorporate them in a way that reflects me as a writer. – RadosianStar 6 days ago
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      • I think reading fiction will always be food for the imagination. If you are a writer reading the work of others allows you to discover your style. If you are reading a work of fiction and discover something the author could be doing differently you will make a mental note to avoid doing it. Conversely, if you find something you love you can further explore that pocket in your own writing and others. Even what you consider to be bad fiction can be educational. – ReidaBookman 5 days ago
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      Wonder Woman and Sailor Moon; The Parallels between two classic feminist superheroes

      With the Wonder Woman live action film on its way, many people might be excited to see one of the west’s greatest superheroines come to life…but let’s take a second to compare and contrast Diana Prince to another superhero from the east: Usagi Tsukino.

      • It would also be important to look into the importance of the age on the differences and similarities between them – marvellaforever 2 months ago
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      Recovering from rejection: A writers journey

      It’s happened to us all. We received an email from an editor that dashed our hopes and dreams against the rocks. Rejection is a fact of life and even the most successful of writers have gone through it several hundred times, Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, and E. E, cummings to name a few. Today’s publishing market is not as ridged as it once was. Now there are other avenues for writers to seek publication such as online-only publishing, self publishing, or paying to publish but the old publishing houses remain and rejection letters are still given out in healthy doses. An interesting topic to explore might be the sudden drop and forced recovery after receiving a rejection. You could use numerous examples of people who have survived and give helpful hints and tips for those feeling discouraged. In the words of Sylvia Plath "I love my rejection slips. They show me I try."

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        The Art of Trolling

        Internet trolling has become an even hotter topic in the wake of the 2016 election and the rise of the "other" Alt-Right. Explore the roots and history of trolling. Is it the legacy of Socratic rhetorical styles meant to expose societal hypocrisy or just plain bullying.

        • I wonder, however, if there is much history to this phenomenon yet. – mmastro 3 months ago
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        • There is. As you will note from the topic it arguably goes back to Socrates. – Christen Mandracchia 3 months ago
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        • Whenever someone has an idea, there will almost certainly be people waiting to tear it down...The internet made it worse because it allowed anyone with internet to become a critic. – MikeySheff 2 months ago
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        • MikeySheff,true. Opening access causes problems, limiting access causes others. The dilemma recalls Madison's yin-yang-like result of securing specific Constitutional rights: allow gun ownership, reap gun violence; ban gun ownership, risk totalitarianism. True too of free speech allowing far-right and -left perspectives, freedom of religion allowing Branch Davidians, Jonestown, etc. Even the double-jeopardy protection for the monsters who murdered Emmitt Till is understandable vis-a-vis the certain damage that would occur were that protection removed. – Tigey 2 months ago
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        • I would love to read an article on this topic. Perhaps another avenue to explore might be the historical appeal of trolling. If we view it as a satirical approach to modern debate then what makes it so appealing? Is it human nature to troll? Does exposing certain societal hypocrisies result in the rise of newer hypocrisies?Another point of interest that I am curious to explore is the advocacy of alt-righters. Often people associate this movement with a new sort of radical dissidence. They call the alt-right a "punk movement." Is it punk though? Or is this indoctrination of supposed punk ideologies merely used as a ploy to appeal to a youthful audience yearning for any form of subversion? – DrownSoda 2 months ago
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        • Just because someone says it goes back to Socrates doesn't mean it does. Just like to point that out. Socrates didn't promote trolling anymore than Jonathan Swift did. – wolfkin 4 days ago
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        • That's why I said "the legacy of Socratic rhetorical styles" and not "Socrates said so." Hence, writing an article about the topic. – Christen Mandracchia 4 days ago
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        Can soundtracks make or break films?

        A great soundtrack is so much more than just a collection of good songs. It can pull the story along while somehow effortlessly blending into the background. The right one often helps define a movie. Analyse the effect the much-recognised soundtracks had in such films as Forrest Gump, Drive, The Departed, Pulp Fiction, The Dark Knight and others.

        • Great topic! I would recommend choosing around three examples for clarity (one that works because of the score, one that doesn't work because of the score, one that is strengthened by the score). Also, score VS soundtrack, which did you mean? The score is in the film, the soundtrack is a supplementary collection, typically for advertising. – m-cubed 1 week ago
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        • Interesting topic...Would be great to do an analysis on animated movies vs live-action, and whether that plays a role in how important the soundtrack is??? – MikeySheff 1 week ago
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        • I buy soundtracks based on their content of music acquired by production. I have several soundtracks in my current Vinyl record collection. If you collect them always purchase VINYL RECORDINGS when available you will be glad you did. – WilliamBailey 1 week ago
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        Queerbating in Anime

        Queerbating is the attempt to reel in viewers by providing false hints that there is a potentially queer relationship. One example is Sound Euphonium, a series about high schoolers playing instruments where two seem to have an almost-lesbian ending.
        Is it harmful to the queer community? Or is it helpful that at least we get a little representation? Do writers/producers do it because they respect us but have to censor themselves or because they really just want a variety of viewers?

        • This is an interesting topic. I think you need to look at the history of homosexuality in Japan, Yaoi, and Yuri. For example, the medieval Warlord had homosexual relationship with their favored Samurais to ensure their loyalties while legally married to wives. With such historical evidences, the perception of homosexuality will be different from Western point of view, so it will require some cultural studies to explore this topic – idleric 3 months ago
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        Gentrification and the Fighting Game Community

        Analyze the path the Fighting Game Community has taken and how its path towards more mainstream "Esports" appeal may be pulling it further from its roots. Look at how the origins of Fighting Games, which until about 2009 were competitively played primarily in arcades, separated them from other competitive fighting games primarily played online. Look at how the economic factors required to play online games in the early 2000s vs the quarters required to play in an arcade created two separate groups. Look at how attempts to court sponsors to major FGC events could be seen as disrespectful to its roots. The racial undertones of Evo’s "No Thuggery" rule.

        • Great concept! You might have this already in mind, but I'd recommend highlighting the tipping point where fast online connections turned regional gaming competitions into world competitions, perhaps where people from foreign cultures finally had access to sponsored gaming competitions in the US. That moment when gaming blows up on a global scale is an exciting moment for the origin of fighting games. – Nate Océan 1 week ago
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        Are podcasts changing how we talk about serious problems

        Podcasts are becoming more and more popular, and many are hosted by comedians, even though their show’s topics range from murder to history. Is this candid, improvised, and comedic take on these more serious topics changing the way that we discuss them or even deal with them in our daily lives?

        • Is this focused solely on podcasts by comedians? Might be helpful to draw a contrast between the followers of a podcast like OnBeing vs those who follow a podcast from a comedian, and how we get different consumers to relate to the same news (like CNN vs The Daily Show) by packaging and presenting it differently (like traditional news vs comedy). – Nate Océan 1 week ago
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        The Focus of Pokemon Games

        The Pokémon franchise has captivated audiences worldwide from generation to generation. But what is it about Pokémon that has captivated the people for all these years? Is it the characters within the game, the story plot, the setting, or the phrase "gotta catch ’em all"? Each Pokémon game consisted on having a focus ( a representation on what the game is about). Analyze each game of Pokémon and discuss what these games are talking about.

        • Interesting topic! Perhaps it's the desire for young people (or anyone of any age, really) to travel and adventure. I know more than a handful of people with wanderlust. And to top it all off, there's success as a champion at the end. – ChristinaGilbert 3 months ago
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        • I would also consider how Game Freak balances the popular appeal of Pokemon with the international competitive battling community. They need to have cute and cool Pokemon that are fun to use in the story, and they also need to energize and maintain a diverse meta-game. – bshoalz 2 months ago
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        The Appeal of Harry Potter

        Harry Potter continues to be an endearing franchise. What thematic elements make it so loved years after the books and films have been completed?

        • I think it has to do a lot with the fact that the books were famous before it became a movie and the kids who grew up reading those books are now adults and thus, they encouraged their younger siblings to take interest in the movies and read the book. Not to mention that some of us read the books as adults, (like me) and encouraged our children to take an interest in the franchise (both in books and movies). (at least that is what I did). – Nilab Ferozan 10 months ago
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        • I have see how popular the topic is on the Artifice itself. – Munjeera 10 months ago
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        • This would be a super read! I think it's important to consider the books and the films as separate entities , but also compare their success at some point in the article – LilyaRider 10 months ago
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        • Harry Potter has this certain nostalgic appeal that leads to people feeling a connection with the series, and the desire to pass it on to younger traditions. Aside from fantasy, the series deals with issues of friendship, loss, families, hope, struggles, etc., which allows for a multitude of viewership. Due to these numerous facets, this series has the ability to reach readers/viewers in at least one area of human emotion. – danielle577 10 months ago
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        • It's the characters. There are so many characters or parts of characters that each of us can identify with or want to be. I started to read these books as a teenager, and yet older than the targeted audience. I wanted to get my letter telling me I was a wizard (or witch) and would be swept away into this magical world that exists alongside of our muggle world. Even as an adult it is wonderful to believe that somewhere there is magic or this alternate world that could exist. The core story of love and friendship endures past the books and films. And even as I re-read the series I laugh and cry at the same moments that I read in the first reading. And am sad when it's all over that I need to re-read and re-watch. It's one that shall continue to endure. – therachelralph 10 months ago
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        • I agree that it's the characters because the characters are thought out to such an extent and written in such detail that they can easily be imagined as real people instead of just imaginary people from a book. They also cover a wide range of types of people and do not stick to hard stereotypes. The good characters have flaws. The bad characters have good somewhere inside them or backstories explaining why they are how they are. The booksmart Hermione doesn't always have the answer and brought new depth to the 'nerd' and 'bookworm' characters. All the characters have an amazing depth to them that is actually surprising considering just how many characters there are. Even small characters that you hardly see or ones that didn't even make it into the movies have complete characters. None are hollow characters just there for the furthering of the plot, instead being fully-formed people. I would say that the characters are the main reason the series remains relevant. The magic doesn't hurt though. Essentially, the series creates a world perfect for the imagination of all ages to explore and young fans just get to know the world and the characters in new and deeper ways as they get older. It doesn't just fade away and get forgotten because there's always more to experience and enjoy. – AnisaCowan 10 months ago
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        • It's the appeal of the alternative reality: this rich and amazing world that is just around the corner, if only we know how to look for it. I'd also say it was how well Rowling constructed her universe and how rich and detailed it is. Just the care she put into naming her characters, it reminds me of Tolkien.I think another part of the appeal is that we can all imagine ourselves in that world. If not as students, then as teachers or at least as a denizen. In that respect, it reminds me of Star Trek. – LisaDee 9 months ago
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        • Someone please formulate what Rowling did. I need the money. – Tigey 7 months ago
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        • Many people have mentioned the characters and I agree that is a huge part of it. JKR has called them "character-driven" books and after reading that quote I was immediately like, oh, yeah. It got me thinking. Technically all books are driven by the actions of characters, but some plots don't require you to know the characters on a personal level to be entertaining. JKR takes character to a whole new level; as people have said, it's like you know them (not just the main characters--almost all of them) and could predict what they would do in any situation. And her dialogue is fun, witty, and personal to each of her characters. It makes her writing more fun and truly exceptional, and the story so much more dimensional than the plot of defeating Voldemort. That goes along with the idea of world creation. I hate comparing HP to things like Twilight and The Hunger Games because it blows them out of the water from a writing, literary, and overall goodness standpoint. But a comparison serves to make my point--Stephanie Meyer and Suzanne Collins created worlds within or in the future of our world. They added new rules and created some creatures, devices, and spaces that are purely the products of imagination. But J.K. Rowling created a Wizarding world that, while occasionally intersecting with the muggle world, is a space all it's own. She doesn't even rely on the existence of technology. She invented hundreds of spells, animals, laws, backstories, places, histories. It's mind-blowing. – katybherman 5 months ago
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        • J.K. Rowlings Harry Potter series helped change my life as a child. Being of the Harry Potter generation I grew up reading the books, waiting in lines at midnight to get the books and skipping school the next day to barricade myself in my room to read it in its entirety as soon as possible. J.K. Rowlings taught me lessons about hardship, friendship, bullying and life with her stories, for that, I will be forever grateful. Literature to me is going on an adventure. No matter the genre, fiction or non–though I am partial to fiction. By opening the pages of a book we can be transported into a new world, learning and living through characters in the world created. We study and write about it for many different reasons, some to learn, others to simply enjoy. Literature has no bounds, it is not limited by the past, present or the future. It's the relatability of the characters and their progression through growing up learning about, life, love/lust, friendship, bully, and loss that allow us to connect with them, breath with them and even grieve with them. The world of Harry Potter is so much more than one boy with a scar on his forehead or simply words on a page. – RoyalBibliophile 2 months ago
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        • Check out Sarah's recent post, pending approval, as it addresses Harry and enduring popularity. – Paul A. Crutcher 2 weeks ago
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        Exploring the concept of time in Tarkovsky's films.

        Analyse the passing of time and how it is depicted in Tarkovsky’s films. How is the concept of time relevant to the overall poetry of the work?

        • Great topic! This probably goes without saying, but whoever tries to tackle this should definitely read Sculpting in Time. He shares a lot of great insights in there, and it really changes the way you experience the films. – ProtoCanon 2 weeks ago
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        In the run up to mothers day (UK) who are some of the best movie mothers.

        In the run up to mothers day what better way to prepare than by reconnecting with some of our favourite movie mothers who have had an influence on use as much as our real relatives. From Maria in the sound of music to ‘the cool mum’ Mrs. George in mean girls who are some of your favourite movie mums?

        • Could this be expanded to TV moms as well? I can think of several, from Clair Huxtable and Hariette Winslow (Cosby Show, Family Matters) to Lorelai Gilmore (Gilmore Girls) and Annie Camden (7th Heaven). Some favorite movie moms of mine are Eudora (Tiana's mom from The Princess and the Frog), Vianne (Chocolat), Helen Harris (Raising Helen), and the moms from The Joy Luck Club. – Stephanie M. 2 weeks ago
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        • The mom from The Wonder Years is also a good pick for TV.In movies I would pick the mom from Queen of Katwe, mom of chess champ who struggles with giving the best to her genius daughter. – Munjeera 2 weeks ago
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