There must be something to the notion of a creative come-down. I just spent the better part of the last 48 hours that weren’t occupied by sleeping working on characters and structure for a podcast drama project that’s been in the works for maybe a year now, with another person who came to Brisbane specifically for this (and to visit another close friend for that person’s birthday, but that person is actually involved in this project as well, so it all kind of blends together). It’s not something I’ve done before, this kind of intense collaborative work on a single non-interactive narrative project, but it’s reminiscent of other times in my life where creativity was a much greater part of daily life (MFA studies, planning and running LARPs, that sort of thing). And I’m a wreck right now. I feel low, rendered, defeated. Lost, maybe? Maybe not lost, because I’ve … Read on!
Representation matters, still and always. Leslie Jones tweeted in response (one of a longer thread of tweets) to people complaining that she’s been pigeonholed as the only non-scientist in the upcoming Ghostbusters film. To be clear — I had some reservations about just that, but most of them were fairly small, especially after seeing Patty in action in the trailer. But then this Twitter thread cropped up on the interwebz. Jones talks about a message she received from Joanna Briley, writer-performer of SWIPE THIS! MY LIFE IN TRANSIT*, who herself is an MTA token booth clerk; Briley had been asked by a reporter about her thoughts on Jones’s role in the new film. I received this from a MTA worker:Hey Leslie, thanks for being you. A question was asked by a news writer about your role on your new movie — Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) March 4, 2016 black actresses. This was my … Read on!
I know I’ve spoken in the past about GenreCon (and it’s happening again this year! GO. DO IT), and what a phenomenal experience it was for me, and all the fantastic people I met there. I want to tell you about one of them, because she’s offering a twelve-week mentorship program centering on writing and creative exploration. Jodi Cleghorn writes: My vision is to be the curator of a supported creative space with the benefits of one-to-one personalised attention and small group interaction. One of the greatest things to have come from GenreCon, for me, is the discovery of a creative community of vastly different people with incredibly different talents and styles and genres, but who are united by a sense of inclusivity, generosity, and openness. And this mentorship program is a distillation of that. I imagine I’m not being terribly clear, so I’ll let Jodi explain it better: For … Read on!
There’s tons of bad news out in the ether. I can’t deal with it now, I don’t have the wherewithal, but I wanted to do something constructive. So I wanetd to talk about looking at the things you do and letting yourself see the good in it. Western society — or at least this corner of Western society that I live in — thrives on hypercriticality. Things aren’t quite good enough. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman and I will never be attractive enough or thin enough or charming enough on my own, so I really really need to buy a panoply of things to cover my hopeless flaws. Maybe it’s not. Anyway. I was sitting around with friends yesterday and recounted a summary of a story I’d submitted in the hopes of getting it published and I thought at first I wouldn’t remember it properly. (Memory and I don’t … Read on!
So anyone who knows me knows I have Opinions about Representation. Representation in anything — games, movies, books, the gamut of communicative arts. So let me tell you about this thing that I just found because YES. It’s a game called Aberford in development by an outfit called Sketchy Panda Games. Here are their four primary protagonists: Yeah. That totally got my attention. In a sentence, Aberford follows four women in post-WWII America faced with a zombie apocalypse. There’s a single-player story mode and a multiplayer zombie-smash mode, too. But if you worry that this is being handled poorly, that the characters are cardboard cutouts and the story will be a thin veneer of zombie bashing dressed in June Cleaver’s best, let me point you to this excerpt from their tumblr, which they update quite frequently: Besides being a game about 50’s housewives and zombies, Aberford is about people finding their voices … Read on!
There are days I feel like I’m striving toward something, striding. Something purposeful, something meaningful. Today is not one of those days. I suppose it’s all right; I suppose you can’t always be on the march, you can’t always double-time through the shadows with a burning brand smoking up the corridors. But it leaves me hollow and empty and with no motion at all. I don’t like being motionless. Well, that’s not entirely correct; I like being motionless when it’s a thing I’ve chosen, and serves a purpose. Or even if I didn’t choose it, but I know it leads to something else later on. An enforced sabbatical. That’s not what this is, though. It’s a permeating fog of dissatisfaction, and I think that’s what I hate most. If something’s not quite right, I like to be able to try to fix it, or think about why leaving it alone … Read on!
powered by Fotopedia So before the middle of the year hit, I was in the middle of refocusing my research from the application of polyphony to transmedia storytelling, to examining polyphony and its role in shared emergent narrative in tabletop role playing games. A friend of mine calls this a “PhD&D.” There are studies on the culture and anthropology of gamers and gaming (and when I say gaming here, I mean tabletop RPGs); there are studies on performativity in gaming, the potential of gaming in therapy, and in education. There are evaluations of gaming materials as literature. But so far, there are no examinations of narrative processes happening in a game in progress. Because polyphony posits that every voice influences the collaborative results of the interaction of those voices in a given work, and because an RPG setting constitutes a voice contributing to a game even partly based in … Read on!
Okay, so, I’ve been gaming since, like, forever. And my family wasn’t the kind to get an Atari or a Nintendo or whatever. No, my gaming was pen and paper and the kinds of stigma you expect when not being whatever’s popular that week in high school (I actually started earlier, but hey). I’m not here to talk about that, I’m here to talk about why I made my impulse buy. Which was a weekend pass to GenreCon here in Brisbane. I’ve know about Chuck Wendig since my White Wolf days, and then somehow, years ago, I stumbled onto his blog. If you haven’t read it, you should quit my site right now and go do so. I even linked for you just above. There’s a bit of a naughty word warning, but whatever, he’s a George Carlin variety of profanity-slinger. Trust me on this. Anyway. He was coming to … Read on!
I’ve managed a bit of a breakthrough, tightening the pacing on the story (improving the first episode significantly) and getting a much livelier sense of the characters, which is immeasurably valuable. I did it by eliminating/consolidating three characters. Reminds me of a phrase used when it comes to modern media technology: “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” Polyphonic stories require ensemble casts: it is the nature of the tale. But too many characters and you muddy and confuse everything, and no one remembers who anyone else is. Too few, and you have no tension at all. I’ve had to be mercenary about this story, looking at every scene from a screenwriting perspective: no wasted airtime. No wasted words, no wasted sound, no pointless scenes. But the difference here is that in a three-act film, every scene pushes the story forward on the shoulders of the main character (even though … Read on!
So this was meant to be small and short, and isn’t, but I want to get this down because I’ve been thinking about it a lot. Yes, and. I first heard about it when I interned for “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” in the early aughts. It’s a part of improv; when you’re working with others, when they throw you an idea, or they throw one out to get picked up and carried over the next goal line: Yes, and. It’s a simple principle, and it’s terrifying, and it’s the thing that will make us better people and it’s what shows us to be good people. In a collaboration, the instict to deny or negate comes from a protection of the self — sometimes a concern over sovereignty, over who gets the credit, over the dilution of ideas. But real collaboration, teamwork, trust, does not happen unless there’s this sense of yes, … Read on!