5 Suggestions to Make Horror ScarySince we're coming up on Halloween (sort of) and I'm increasingly irritable at the lack of horror films to see, here five ways I think the genre in film, television and video games could be improved.5 Suggestions to Make Horror Scary3 years ago in Personal More Like This
I'm actually a fan of horror, but specifically physiological dread rather then gore which is increasingly becoming the minority of horror in general. I'm hoping there are those like me, sick of the splatter and wanting to see horror once more actually SCARE people again!
1: No Cheap Music Stings
This is one that's really starting to get to me. EVERY SINGLE instance of suspense has to be broken up with a loud discordant blast of music and sound. Sure it's startling but since the music sting itself doesn't exist inside the universe of the film/show/game it comes across as artificial with only a little bit of retrospect. To me music stings make me jump but they don't actually scare me, any more then getting a static electrical zap is terrifying. Worse a surprising lot of these stings oc
What Makes a Great Villain?"The enemy? His sense of duty was no less than yours, I deem. You wonder what his name is, where he came from. And if he was really evil at heart. What lies or threats led him on this long march from home. If he would not rather have stayed there...in peace.What Makes a Great Villain?11 months ago in Personal More Like This
War will make corpses of us all."
-Return of the King
I've been asked this on more than one occasion by more than one friend so...here's my interpretation.
In order to be an effective, memorable villain to me a character must be just that initially...
It doesn't matter how much nifty armor or flashy powers you pile on: nothing comes close to the impact of a person who turns to the dark side, perhaps from his own volition, perhaps because of circumstances. A villain is not exempt from having no internal motivations, no logical decision making, no personal attitude. What is a villain who just laughs maniacally and strides about intoning the plot and nothing beside usually called even by the most forgiving of review
Kid's Movies: No Thought Required?My recent rant on The Lego Movie let me in on a trend of thought I find a little disturbing, but I can understand in retrospect.Kid's Movies: No Thought Required?1 year ago in Personal More Like This
Kid's movies are, by their nature, not to be taken seriously.
This seems to encompass any and all considerations of deeper meaning in any film defined, or suspected to be defined as, entertainment for children.
The assumptions arising from this position are a little disturbing to me.
1: Kids don't think about what they watch, and shouldn't be expected to try.
2: All apparent messages in movies are untrue, unintended, or carelessly misleading.
Other then this, what conclusion can I come to here?
Are there any other times when not thinking somehow makes up for the deficiencies in a product?
If someone served you lousy food, would you decide it was worth the price because it wasn't even intentionally good? And more to the point, would you give lousy food to a kid because they don't know the difference between good and bad food anywa
How to Make Dark AdaptationsA companion piece of sorts to this journal entry: http://jarredspekter.deviantart.com/art/How-Not-to-Make-Dark-Adaptations-325294715How to Make Dark Adaptations3 years ago in Personal More Like This
'Darkness' is a term slung around a lot as a marketing tool, as an off-the-cuff descriptor, as a genre, and as a place holder for any number of vaguely defined but resonantly pervasive factors associated in fiction of all sorts. It's used to mean grim, depressing, violent and bloody, gothic, tragic, psychological, existential, surrealistic, or even just revisionist.
To me darkness means both all of these things and none of them at once: not a genre, not a style, not reached by a series of completely uniform checklist associations but instead more like a feeling or emotional byplay to whatever form of storytelling is occurring. Darkness works alongside any number of different distinctions because it's essentially a universal human affectation. We all have an innate sense that life isn't perfect and that oftentimes it's downright somber. It's that shared su
Genuine Scares in MoviesI'm a horror aficionado in the same way I am a movie aficionado.Genuine Scares in Movies2 years ago in Personal More Like This
I like the concept of 'horror' more often then I like horror films and I study the art and artifice of the medium more often then I pay patronage to it. Maybe this makes me a snob but I personally think its allowed me to delve pretty deep into what makes a horror movie work and why, wonder of wonders, earlier horror films and a handful of modern ones get it right where so many get it so very wrong.
Horror here is a word I'll use to mean the psychological sensibility: not so much the genre stereotypes. This means that horror will NOT be used as a synonym for movies with gore, movies with psycho killers, movies with demons, movies with violins on the soundtrack, or movies made by self proclaimed horror movie directors.
Horror to me means thrilling, not merely shocking. Stirring, not merely sickening.
Horror to me means atmosphere over slick visuals and it means suspense over telegraphed moments so painfully tailored to be h
Character: What You Are in the DarkAnother of my musings on storytelling, characters and such inbound.Character: What You Are in the Dark3 years ago in Personal More Like This
I am less then a passionate devotee of a lot of modern day storytelling mediums/stories in general. The reason being I'm recently coming to understand is that there's very rarely a combination of good elements in one production. It tends to be 60/40 in terms of character development, atmosphere, plot, writing, metaphorical depth...etc.
Consider all the times you may have seen a fairly recent film and come away thinking 'Well, the action was great but the characters were boring' or 'It was really deep and meaningful...I think, but nothing really happened' or 'There was lots of character development, it's too bad the plot was so simple and dull'. It seems like the filmmakers/writers/game designers poured their hearts and souls into exactly one aspect of a production, leaving the others undernourished.
Now I realize that maybe some elements don't bother you as much as they do me. I get a massive kick out of overanalyzing
An Iconic Villain is a MustAs I was wondering around Comicon yesterday I found myself looking at the costumes and wondering...where are all the modern day heroes and villains?An Iconic Villain is a Must3 years ago in Personal More Like This
After a little consideration I realized there nearly aren't any.
It seems a little odd but even for grand heroic fictional tales the most readily memorable element is generally the villain. No matter the diverse collection of noble protagonists, its the bad guy that tends to make the most lasting impression, the heroes distinguishing themselves best if they triumph over an especially menacing foe. A good story should have heroes we can admire and villains we despise, or at the very least opposing sides that instigate emotional impressions. This might seem simplistic but the truth I've discovered is that when there's no one we can feel anything about a story gets dull very quickly. Villains are intrinsically more interesting then heroes because they're more dangerous, unpredictable, and unrestrained. Many are often conflicted as well and if
Five Deadly Anime SinsWith the lack of practically any theatrical or rentable releases of interest to me I've fallen back into my old habits and turned to Anime again. I am in no way a die-hard fan, but oftentimes given the less restrictive nature of the medium there can be stronger, more character driven, and more mature stories to be seen then in a lot of Western animation and shows, especially nowadays with the neutering by political correctness reaching painfully acute levels. I do enjoy well produced anime, dubbed or subtitled, very much and there's even a few shows which, despite their corniness or weirdness, I watch as guilty pleasures because of a focus on an ongoing narrative and intriguing interplay, as well as the inventive action.Five Deadly Anime Sins3 years ago in Personal More Like This
But there are five major issues I take with Anime I felt like sharing to see if they might match up with your own, if you're a fan or just a casual viewer. I remember when Anime was hot stuff on television and nowadays it seems oddly diminished and isolated from the ge
Meeting The Enemy, But Never UsEver notice (unless it's just me...again) that the media loves to play with the concept of our identifying with an enemy...but never follows through?Meeting The Enemy, But Never Us3 years ago in Personal More Like This
For the most part the enemy in all forms of entertainment is an out and out 'other', a wild animal, a strangely shaped alien menace or a shambling zombie or an inscrutable malevolent being. These are easy to align against because it's human nature to be mistrustful of things that don't fall into our purview of self image. What we don't identify with we do one of two things to in general: worship or fight.
The vast majority of 'foes' in media from video games to shows to films are a detached society or a dissimilar race to mankind posing a threat, presumably because if the enemy is without qualm and outside of our understanding we can cheer with greater ease of mind when they are slaughtered wholesale in heroic battle.
But wait you say! There's human foes to be had too: thieves and corrupt businessmen and politicians, crazed soldiers, raci
What I Liked About Avengers (Honest!)Figured I'd make not an apology but an addendum.What I Liked About Avengers (Honest!)3 years ago in Personal More Like This
The Avengers is not a terrible movie not even that overly irritating with my issues with it taken into consideration. It did get a lot right and I'd like to outline what I thought worked and worked well below without any deviations. I've been down on this film a lot recently. Now to show what I liked about it.
1: Stayed Very Faithful
This was incredibly satisfying. This was a purely Avengers film without any niggling updates or drastic studio imposed change-ups. Captain America wore his costume, Loki had a long-horned helmet, Thor spoke in formal but not goofily archaic way, there was the helicarrier, and even certain massive extra-dimensional alien warlords looked spot on perfect. This was Cobra Commander getting a silly new helmet or Silent Hill swapping genders or Galactus in Rise of the Silver Surfer becoming a black hole. Avengers stayed strong to the iconography of its legacy and rendered each and every instance with care, respect,
Video Game Adaptations Can Work!Video game adaptations: the very word conjures horrific visions of box office flops or just rancid pieces of cinematic waste.Video Game Adaptations Can Work!3 years ago in Personal More Like This
Wing Commander, Mortal Kombat Annihilation, Tomb Raider Cradle of Life, Prince of Persia, Super Mario Bros, Silent Hill, Doom, Max Payne, Dead or Alive, Final Fantasy The Spirits Within, House of the Dead, Street Fighter, Alone in the Dark, Resident Evil, and Tekken among others have been soundly panned across the board by critics and theater goers alike as being unfaithful to their source materials and all around amateurish and poor quality productions.
But comic book adaptations are in general the blockbusters keeping the industry afloat, so 'adaptation' doesn't seem to be the primary stumbling block.
The issue I feel is a bunch of mistakes related to lack of care and consideration for the video games as well as storytelling itself that leads to adaptations failing on two fronts: first as the films the fans of the games want to see, and secondly as films anyon
Apply The MLP Formula to New IdeasIts no secret (embarrassingly, at all) that I kind of dig My Little Pony, Friendship is Magic.Apply The MLP Formula to New Ideas3 years ago in Personal More Like This
But do I really like the show, or what the show represents to me?
This is a contention which is becoming increasingly apparent as season two wears on. There seems to be a definite shift in tonality, in complexity, and in general quality. Now of course this is to be expected in any ongoing series and even the best suffered hiccups that didn't destroy their integrity, but MLP is a curious case in that I believe the franchise actually has more potential then the artists and writer's can ever realize by default.
Star Wars the Clone Wars (both the traditionally animated and CGI shows) were children's shows by virtue of having fantasy elements in them, but both also evolved beyond their humble cartoony origins into sweeping and involved plot-lines featuring betrayals and heroism and genuine threats counterbalanced by acts of desperation and sacrifice. The label could encompass these things and stil
Solutions to Popular ClichesWe all know they exist, and they usually exist for a reason: to serve as the lynchpin of a plot that is either too lazy or the writer too unversed in films and stories to realize how stock they've made their production without intending to. Stereotypical plot turns, unrealistic but procedural character reactions, suspension of logic for the sake of following in well worn footsteps: none of this necessarily means the final product won't be entertaining, don't get me wrong. But what can't be denied is that cliches cheapen a product and make story lines feel less organic and more contrived.Solutions to Popular Cliches1 year ago in Personal More Like This
However in addition to pointing out a few of these classics and trying briefly to explain why they might be used, I'd also like to provide my suggestions for how to get around these road bumps in plot structure and accomplish what these placeholders are meant to, but perhaps accomplish it in a much more interesting way in service to the story, not detrimental to it.
Plot and story are not the same thin
Top Ten Best Movie VillainsEvery cloud has a silver lining. These guys I genuinely thought were threatening, interesting, and powerful foes to be reckoned with.Top Ten Best Movie Villains2 months ago in Personal More Like This
From order of least threatening to...wow.
10: Tom Riddle 'Lord Vauldemort'
A compelling and nuanced character who however was a somewhat underwhelming villain, Tom Riddle AKA Vauldemort has the distinction of having a sympathetic backstory but remaining till the last completely unredeemable by his own choice. He's low on the list because he's a little generically 'villainy' down to laughing maniacally and making dumb decisions, but as a villain even before he shows his presence is felt. No one speaks his name allowed (which turns out to be a practically as well as a symbolic decision later) and he's said to command minds, summon monsters, and twist reality to forward his schemes...all while being a disembodied parasite! He looks nifty and suitably villainous, there's nothing he won't do to accomplish his ends, he has some degree of strategy, he's unapolo
My Favorite Horror...Things!In no particular order and for Halloween I present a list of random stuff I consider the best that horror has to offer! Enjoy...if you dareMy Favorite Horror...Things!3 years ago in Personal More Like This
1: On the Brighton Road by Richard Middleton
It's a few scant pages in length, one of the few creations of an author with a tragically short career. This in my opinion is the best ghost story ever written. With one of the most vivid and gothic atmospheres in fiction, a simple but effective composition, and a memorable twist which not only shocks but puts all the rest of the journey proceeding into a spine-tingling new prospective as the best revelations do.
This is one to read if you want a quick spook-story that you won't want to sleep soon after. The freezing, tattered tramp and the strange boy with staring, fearful eyes will haunt you forever.
2: Zork Nemesis
This is a game which does everything you're not supposed to do with an established franchise, and because of it is still regarded by many as a classic masterwork. I pe
deviantART CEO ridiculed in comicThis Journal is a Hot TopicdeviantART CEO ridiculed in comic4 years ago in Personal More Like This
Angelo Sotira (aka spyed)
Co-Founder & CEO of deviantART
I'm closing in on 11 years of running deviantART and if there's one thing I know for sure it's that when you guys are right, you're right. And that at dA, ego and our own sense of self worth comes second to how much we care about deviantART and our collective love of what we represent together. Prepare for me to be humiliated.
Before we get started, here's to fulfilling my promise to publishing the deviations made by akreon and vesner to the entire community for all to see, no matter what they were, after we invited them to get an inside look in to deviantART HQ and our operations. and maybe another cuz they're kinda scathing!
Some of you are wondering what the heck I'm talking about. So let's skip to the punch line and then talk about how we got here:
This is the latest of four Comics coming from akreon and :d
'There's Some Good Worth Fighting For''It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why.''There's Some Good Worth Fighting For'2 years ago in Personal More Like This
-Samwise Gamgee, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Ive been perusing anything and everything looking for my lost inspiration. At the moment for me real life is a massive hassle of kitten-sitting, job searching, isolation, disappointment, and general blah. But that's never mattered overly to me if I could pour myself on occasion into something worthwhile which for me has always been stories, to read, to write, to share.
I've come across an interest
Whatever Happened to World Building?I recently won an Ebay auction for two new additions to my action figures collection, both based on the video game Quake 2. They're well crafted and nicely painted: both various enemies from the game of the alien Strogg menace: a hulking Tank and the grotesque but strangely graceful appearing Iron Maiden. What particularly interested me about these was that at the time the graphics engine for the game was not what could be described even charitably as 'well detailed' since it was an early example of three dimensional graphics. The figures on the other hand are exquisitely detailed with extrapolated ideas beyond what the game's graphics were capable of. In fact the first Quake figure I acquired in the line was a female marine which to my knowledge doesn't show up in the game at all, but seems at home with the idea of the story for the game since it's about a mass-scale retaliatory invasion by Earth of the alien's desolate home world. Despite the game featuring only a first person perspeWhatever Happened to World Building?1 year ago in Personal More Like This
Story is a VerbStory is a verb...or it should be I think.Story is a Verb11 months ago in Personal More Like This
The classic tale of One Thousand and One Nights (or Arabian Nights as it's known in some cases) concerns the framing narrative of a young woman named Scheherazade held captive by a Persian prince and threatened with death unless she tells him one story every evening to keep up his interest...and her use to him. Each story concerns a larger than life hero, but not one so invincible that they are never in peril. Peril and hardship is the name of the game: the constant hook which keeps each story fresh. Sinbad, Ali Baba, and other charismatic daredevils stumbling upon supernatural and all too natural mixups are always getting into one inescapable situation after another, and what keeps the interest alive for the tale is how they'll find their way out of it intact.
The main attraction is not the political power games behind the scenes.
The main attraction is not complex relationships.
The main attraction is not convoluted legendary artifacts
When Fans Care More than CreatorsThere's an odd but sadly understandable trend in entertainment: fans who care more about the productions they enjoy then the creators do. An exemplar of this recently is the 'brony' phenomena in which the complete opposite demographic of a children's television show (older males as opposed to younger females) latched on to the stories and characters of My Little Pony generation four.When Fans Care More than Creators3 years ago in Personal More Like This
As one reviewer put it sneeringly 'This is Derpy Hooves. She is clumsy, likes muffins and she has a daughter named Ditzy. And no, none of this is ever explicitly stated by the show. Its all creations by fan cannon.'
To him this seemed like something to scorn. Fans creating their own connections? Poppycock.
But its a more and more prevalent indication of the vast gulf between writer and fan which has admittedly always existed but now more then ever seems a little outdated.
Why can't creators care about their productions as much as fans do?
Now My Little Pony has a monkey on its shoulder. If you'd never hear
Television WastelandYeah yeah.Television Wasteland3 years ago in Personal More Like This
First of all to say very clearly that I didn't have to enjoy a show intended originally for little girls about animated ponies going on magical adventures, every ingrained masculine impulse would thank me.
I am not an MLP FIM fan (call me a 'brony' or whatever else) because I choose to be in all honesty. I'm a fan because I like storytelling, I like good characters, I enjoy clever humor, and despite my dark backlog of stories and tendency towards the macabre in much of my writing, I greatly enjoy innocent entertainment that isn't cloying or condescending.
Much like being a fan of the original Star Trek show I'm not a fan because I want to get in good with the Trekkies, I'm a fan because its a good show.
I honestly never thought I'd say that about a show where the most ubiquitous color is pink.
Now a lot of you who have followed my ramblings and rants already know I have a less then optimal opinion about the state of entertainment in Hollywood and in television. I like to thi
The Importance of a Living Setting'Here they have one of the marvels of the Northern World, and what do they say of it? Caves, they say! Caves! Holes to fly to in time of war, to store fodder in! My good Legolas, do you know that the caverns of Helm's Deep are vast and beautiful? There would be an endless pilgrimage of Dwarves, merely to gaze at them, if such things were known to be. Aye indeed, they would pay pure gold for a brief glance!'The Importance of a Living Setting1 year ago in Personal More Like This
- Gimli from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
James Cameron's Avatar I've complained about on more than one occasion but I cannot deny the following: it was almost unanimously critically praised and it made a staggering amount of money back despite it's massive budget, even adjusting for inflation. Movies have been more successful in the past, but recently Avatar is the only smash-hit blockbuster to come along for years now. Even Michael Bay's Transformers films, Nolan's Batman saga, and Josh Whedon's Avengers movie wasn't able to reach the lofty heights of fame and fortune thi
Do Justice to the Past in FilmsHow many times have you seen the chain-mail clad warrior being transported into our world and batting ineffectually at cars, toying with a television he suspects to be 'magic', and being afraid of cars which he refers to as 'beasts'?Do Justice to the Past in Films3 years ago in Personal More Like This
How many movies have you seen showing uptight Victorian nobles without a sense of humor stiffly dancing, evil colonials and cowboys with an unreasoning hatred for natives and an overpowering greed for gold or Christian crusaders using their faith to justify the massacre of peaceful and reasonable muslim?
You know what the commonality is between each of these subgroups; beyond of course the obvious that they're so overplayed as to be obvious and dull?
The writers have no understanding of history.
Consider, the roman legionnaire or the medieval knight actually would have seemed like a genius compared to people nowadays. In earlier times technology was less advanced, but knowledge was more prevalent and inducted to the young at an earlier age. Most people are
Disney Heroines vs Pixar HeroinesThis might be odd to say, but Disney has it ALL over Pixar in terms of heroines.Disney Heroines vs Pixar Heroines3 years ago in Personal More Like This
Maybe they've been in the business longer, but even from the beginning the House of Mouse has produced some of the best female characters in nearly any medium and, despite Pixar outshining its collaborator in terms of storytelling, themes, and visual prowess, the CGI company just doesn't seem to understand the fairer sex. No more clearly is this indicated then by their recent heroine in the movie Brave in my opinion.
To be fair the mistakes Pixar makes are roughly the same as practically EVERY studio makes nowadays, but lets look at some of the differentiations between the best Disney and Pixar heroines first.
These are movies I've seen and remember so I may leave a few out, but this hopefully gets the gist across.
Kind to a fault. Generally optimistic and always considerate no matter who she's dealing with.
Never vengeful despite having every right to be so.
Tends to, but in the process