As promised yesterday, here’s more writing wisdom and insight from an auteur who actually functions as just that, a genuine auteur.
By which we mean, of course, Quentin Tarantino, who we TVWriter™ minions firmly believes to be honored in any way he can for as long as he can because without Pulp Fiction we never could have survived film school.
Here’s Mr. Tarantino hisself, talking, talking talking like the consummate professor he isn’t but definitely should be:
So, the nominations for this year’s Academy Awards have been announced and there were a few surprises. A super-hero film, Black Panther, became the first of its kind to be nominated and Netflix landed its first nomination for Best Picture as well and Meryl Streep got nominated as Best Actress. No, wait – Streep wasn’t nominated. That was the surprise. I thought there was some sort of rule she had to be nominated.
I have different levels of interest in the Academy Awards depending on the category but a particular favorite of mine is soundtrack, a.k.a. Original Score. And the nominees this year are:
Black Panther — Ludwig Goransson
BlacKkKlansman — Terence Blanchard
If Beale Street Could Talk — Nicholas Britell
Isle of Dogs — Alexandre Desplat
Mary Poppins Returns — Marc Shaiman
I haven’t seen as many movies this past year as I usually do and only saw one film that was nominated for best score (Black Panther, natch) but I was very impressed at the time with the music. I don’t know Goransson’s work very well, aside from Creed (which was also first rate) but his score for Black Panther both stood out and, at the same time, fully supported the film.
The other composers I don’t know as well aside from Alexandre Desplat who did both parts of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Argo, and the King’s Speech and also Marc Shaiman who wrote, among other things, Hairspray.
I rely on music a great deal when I’m writing; it gives me emotion, character insight, even story. For the most part, it can’t be music with lyrics because the lyrics can interfere with how I use my words. I like soundtrack music especially because it’s always part of telling a story; if I find the right piece of movie music, it will become part of my story and I’ve been known to play it over and over again until I drive others mad. (This, of course, is why they created headphones.) I can even find story ideas in the music. Something rises emotionally within me and I “see” things, first like shadows or ghostly images that, as I replay the music, comes into focus.
I have my favorites, of course. Jerry Goldsmith was one of the greats, not only in quantity but quality and variety of style. Patton, City Hall, The Ghost and the Darkness, Capricorn One, and – of course – Chinatown among so many others. The latter is one to which I return again and again especially when working on moody, noir-ish things. Beautiful and sad. Exquisite.
Another selection on my best list sections is the soundtrack to WAKING NED DEVINE composed by Shaun Davey. The film in itself is also one of my faves and the music fits and compliments and amplifies it so well. It’s a wonderful black comedy that can literally make me laugh out loud. Correction: one moment puddles me in hysterics. The music is a joy and when I’m looking for a lighter scene, it’s my go-to soundtrack.
Perhaps my favorite soundtrack corresponds, of course, with one of my favorite movies – Field of Dreams. Composer James Horner died much too young but not before creating an incredible body of work that included the music to Apollo 13, The Rocketeer, The Mask of Zorro, Deep Impact, and – of course – Titanic. He was accused of sometimes “borrowing” from other composers; I know he sometimes “borrowed” from himself.
For me, Field of Dreams is his masterpiece. It is lyrical, transcendent, mystical and it’s waltz rhythms perfectly evoke a sense of memory. Yes, I am one of those men who eyes tear up at the end; I freely admit it and the music contributes greatly to that. I heard the score before I ever saw the movie; it drew me to seeing the film.
It’s not only soundtracks that can and do influence my work; classical works can, of course, also do that. APPALACHIAN SPRING by Aaron Copland, especially in the suite, moves me as no other piece of music. The work was originally for a ballet (and there is a longer ballet version of it available) and, as such, it has its own story to tell so, in that way, it’s not unlike a movie score. Copland did compose soundtrack music as well such as Our Town and The Red Pony but it is really Appalachian Spring that resonates most with me. You can hear its influence on so many other pieces of music, including Field of Dreams. It echoes through the years.
So there you have it – my own list of nominees. And the winner is – well, how about that? It’s a tie – all of ‘em.
No, wait. The winner is me.
Excuse me. I need to put on some music.
John Ostrander is one of LB’s favorite writers in any medium. It’s been awhile since he’s been here, but now John’s back with a new column at a new blog, PopCultureSquad, where this piece first appeared (before Christmas even, but we’ve been on a break so you get to relive the holiday now). You can learn more about John and his many masterworks HERE
For reasons that you’ll either already know or, if you don’t, that you’ll never know, Quentin Tarantino is a very Big Deal Screenwriter in addition to being a Very Very Big Deal Film Director and a Very Very Very Big Deal All-Round Film-Maker.
How Big Deal is Mr. Tarantino? Let’s put it this way. We here at TVWriter™ have decided not only to feature his wit and wisdom on our site this week, we’re even going to forgive him for refusing to join the Writers Guild of America – West or East.
Here it is, then, this week’s first appearance by The Big Deal Guy His Very Self, in His Very Own Words about two of our favorite subjects:
For filmmaking in particular, it’s not hard to find newsletters that are relevant to you. Newsletters are a great way to figure out where your peers are hanging out on a regular basis, get updates on upcoming events (online and off), and who in your industry you should be paying attention to. And might I just drop in to say that if you sign up for the Stareable newsletter 1 you’ll also receive a 32 page eBook on marketing? Something to think about.
Listen to podcasts
You’ll find out about new and interesting people, projects, and organizations, and most podcasts make it easy to find their hosts and guests online. You may not get to connect with them directly, but you may notice certain people they interact with/certain organizations they retweet when there’s a job posting or an event. And might I drop in again to suggest the podcast Forget The Box 1, with 22 episodes and 32 guests, is a good one to start with?
Identify the community’s preferred social media/platform
Just like when you’re trying to find an audience for your work, trying to find a community of peers requires you to do some social media digging. I’ve found that Twitter is the writer and filmmaker haven, whereas Instagram is the actor and cinematographer haven and Tumblr [was] an artist’s. Facebook is still king for a lot of hiring in a lot of industries, because it’s had a head start, and you’ll likely find at least 5 groups that explicitly accept people of your particular demographic and artistic interest. Plus, I hear this community called Stareable has a great forum with hundreds of filmmakers from all over the world who gather to help each other out, share resources, and more!
See if there are special events to jump in on
I joined the web series community (and as a result met great friends, worked on great projects, and got a job at Stareable) largely because of the weekly Twitter event #webserieschat, hosted by my [now] pal @snobbyrobot. Every week, he picks a topic relevant to web series creators and moderates an online discussion in the hashtag, and it’s great. I learned so much from listening to other creators talk, and met so many wonderful people as a result of our conversations, but it only happened because I identified a community I wanted to join, what their chosen platform was, and then actually got involved. If you know of other special events (like Stareable’s own Shameless Self Promo Fridays, where you can share a shameless ask for followers and views), let me know in the comments!
Long-distance collaboration ideas
We’ve actually written an article before on long-distance producing, but today I wanted to focus specifically on the minor, medium, and major ways you can creatively support new friends and peers from afar, either to test the waters as collaborators or to make more concrete online connections.
If you’ve just met your new online friend, or the available time-commitment is small, here are a few minor ways you can help (or be helped) from afar:
Have one person write and one person execute, depending on skillsets
Collaborate on an extended universe project for one of your existing shows/projects
There are tons of other ways you can get involved with projects outside of immediate transit distance, but my point here is this: don’t let your location keep you down. You legitimately can start your filmmaking career from anywhere in the world, and can work and collaborate with talented people no matter where either of you is based. Is it easier to build a network of collaborators and peers and work opportunities if you’re in a hub like LA? Yes, obviously. But is it absolutely necessary? Not at all. Don’t be discouraged- put yourself out there.
Bri Castellini is an indie filmmaker and Community Director at Stareable, our favorite web series hub. Watch the remarkable Ms. Castellini’s award-winning web series, Brains, HERE. See Sam And Pat Are Depressed HERE. This post first appeared on Stareable’s most worthwhile Community Forum.
Fans have been arguing about whether CBS’ Star Trek: Discovery is absolute genius or total dreck since the series premiered in 2018. Now it’s 2019 (“Oh, really? I’ll be damned”), and last week brought us the second season premiere–
Which, believe it or don’t, has begotten a whole new, ahem, “discussion” of genius versus dreck, shit versus Shinola, and on and on and on. Inasmuch as our feckless leader, Larry Brody, was an early disciple of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry (in other words, he spent much of his early career working for the Great Bird His Very Self, writing for a variety of projects including ST:TAS, ST: TNG, and ST:VOYAGER) we here at TVWriter™ also have found ourselves caught up in the debate, we thought we’d give y’all some samples of current thinking.
Let the debate begin!
There you have it, three different video views of the first episode featuring the Trekkers Delight known as Captain James Pike. And if by chance you’re actually interested in reading some thoughtful words, there’s also this review from Siskoid’s Blog of Geekery:
STAR TREK #1472: BROTHER
CAPTAIN’S LOG: Captain Pike takes command of the Discovery and takes it on a dangerous mission.
WHY WE LIKE IT: It’s funny and exciting. Pike is cool.
WHY WE DON’T: That jackass Connely. Is that really Spock’s voice?
REVIEW: Season 2 of Discovery begins with a familiar name (not to say face) joining the crew as its (temporary?) commanding officer, Captain Christopher Pike.
Anson Mount looks vaguely like both Jeffrey Hunter and Bruce Greenwood, but regardless of your familiarity with those interpretations, brings immediate charm to the role. We quickly get a sense of who he is. A practical man who is (but for one line) anti-technobabble and likes easy to understand analogies.
An honest man who uses transparency to get the trust of his crew, and treats them as a team where rank doesn’t really matter (even gives us the feeling we’re going to see more of the extended bridge crew, and indeed, they get their moments).
He’s a little out of it, having been forced to sit out the war, and on a ship that is not his own while Enterprise gets repaired from system-wide failure. And he gets serious sometimes, will act like the dad if his officers start bickering, has no patience for defeatist attitudes, and is loyal to a fault when it comes to his people.
This is post-The Cage (there’s a cute reference to it in Lorca’s old ready room), and for older fans, the “toll” the journey took on the Enterprise’s captain stems from that episode.
I’m very happy that he sticks around at the end, and rather intrigued by how he and Saru will “share” command. After Lorca’s dark secrets, it’s nice to have a more heroic figure leading the crew, and Pike makes a great first impression.
Not to say there aren’t mysteries set up in this first episode. At first, I thought the asteroid was the origin of dilithium or something, but no, it was already a thing in that Short Trek with Tilly. So what IS this new power source?
But that’s a MacGuffin. The big mystery is really the relationship between Michael and her foster brother Spock. Part of the story is told through flashbacks to her adoption by Sarek and Amanda, and the decidedly uncommunicative younger Spock who would rather play with his futuristic Etch-a-Sketch than deal with his new sister…