Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Celebrity Splash and How Did It Get Here: Or the Day TV Really Gave Up

Celebrity Splash is a TV series, in the same way a hot dog is considered a food. It has the parts of a TV series, it looks like a TV series and we consume it like a TV series but afterwards you feel regretful, wonder what it was made from and why it exists. I had to take a blood test this morning and had a good conversation with the woman taking my blood. After she retracted her fangs, she asked if I saw that "travesty" Celebrity Splash last night and how we even got to this point in television.

I'd seen the billboards, the magazine ads, the TV spots, but the actual show? I reserve my right to actually call out whether or not the show is bad (even with a hotdog comparison). I had better things to do last night, like watch Charmed and Q and A, during it's timeslot. The show from my understanding is to get B and C-list celebrities to confront their fears of actually making it to the top of something in their life before plunging deep into a pool of uncertain liquid, where they are cheered on by a crowd; a perfectly defunct metaphor for their careers. This is only exacerbated by the amount of promotion the celebrities get from just being on the show and the possible endorsements and opportunities they'll get when the show is over..

So how did we get to this point? Well, it all started with the 2012 London Olympics and a Dutchman. Yeah, remember that fun time in 2012 where the entire world was on stage wagging their nationalistic cocks in everyone's face. It was a glorious time where London was showing off how great they were and not any of the other horrible stuff in recent memory, like riots, unemployment or healthcare issues. But even before the Olympics even occurred there was a man by the name of Reniout Oerlemans

Seen here in his battle against the Huns.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

The Eyes Have It - A Look into Torrenting, Distribution and Box Office

I read a fantastic article this morning from The Wrap which outlined how Cinedigm, a Los Angeles based distribution and digital content company, were setting up a partnership deal with BitTorrent for their upcoming film Arthur Newman. Now, it's not exactly what you think with the partnership, the film isn't just an indie affair and it's not the whole movie. It's a quaint little drama starring Academy Award Winner, Colin Firth (The King's Speech) and Golden Globe Winner Emily Blunt (Looper) and written by the woman who crafted the Brad Pitt vehicle, Seven Years in Tibet.
Hat sales and Pitt Box Office receipts were at an all-time high in 1997

The film's first seven minutes will be uploaded to BitTorrent exclusively and will be shared with hundreds of millions of users and it's an interesting move to say the very least. There has already been outcries from the film industry with an anonymous film executive telling The Wrap, that it's a "deal with the devil," that "It's great for BitTorrent..disingenuous of Cinedigm" and that "BitTorrent is in it for themselves, they're not in it for the health of the industry." Sure, if you were heavily invested in the film industry and had to look at BitTorrent in a destructive and subjective manner. Also if you are severely worried about the implications a technological divide being reached and how people view your fairly archaic way of doing things, then sure.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

A Small Observation on Cinematic Storytelling in Video Games

I can tell you now this is not that short of an observation, but I think it's short in how expansive this could all really be written. Video games are not always a linear platform. They don't have the same rules and restrictions as cinema does, due to the combination of autonomy of movement with the player and the levels that are designed for them. That freedom is crucial in making the player understand the world or exposition the game is meant to be telling them on more than one occasion.

The issue I have with most games is that a lot of their exposition and worldbuilding is done through cutscenes that are incredibly obtuse and could be a lot more subtler. Either bits of dialogue or extended sequences create a world that feels more like a poorly produced play rather than a world I am living or playing through. In his GDC talk, Antony Johnston, writer of the Wasteland comics, the Alex Rider series and the first few Dead Space games, shows how important cutting unnecessary bits of dialogue and action is within the game Alan Wake.

I've always been a fan of "kill your darlings" in writing as more often than not it keeps a writer humble and self-aware with their writing. For example, I had a whole opening bit explaining why Bioshock Infinite is awesome and going into a good two paragraphs on how the first act sets things up properly...then I read Brendan Koegh's piece on it and realise he is smarter, articulate, older and better at writing about that than  I am and may ever be. So I decided to focus on Johnston and Alan Wake instead....for now.