Well, as you may have noticed (and by noticed I of course mean didn’t notice, since I basically just yell at myself here) the blog has been pretty quiet lately. Well, I’ve been busy. Get over it.
Are you over it, yet?
Ugh, fine I’ll wait.
So, yeah, I’ve been working lately. Really that’s pretty awesome because it all is furthering my career. I’m developing new skills as a theater technician, as well as honing my skills in video editing. I also directed two shows for ISU’s Fringe Festival, so that’s pretty awesome.
All of this has built into what I’ll be doing over the summer as well. I’ll be working as an electrician for Crossroads Repertory Theater right here in good ole Terre Haute, as well as working on a new YouTube video series. I’ve also got some work lined up to direct a music video, as well as produce my own short film. That’s all pretty awesome.
It has had some drawbacks though. The Wolfpack still isn’t anywhere near publication ready, and I haven’t written a short story in a good while. But, things are beginning to slow down so I should be able to work on all of that in the coming months.
It is also time for me to make some big changes in my workflow. Freelance writing has been great, but I feel it is burning me out and draining my creativity. I think it’s time to wind down that aspect of my career and focus more on my fiction. I plan on picking up freelance video editing to make up for the lost income.
So far, it has been an interesting year. It hasn’t gone quite the way I wanted it to, but I still plan on meeting all of my goals for the year. Those goals are:
Publish one short story with an online publisher
Self-publish The Wolfpack
Direct and release 2-3 short films
Create consistent content for YouTube
Thus far I am on track to accomplish at least one of those goals (if you count the music video as a short film). The YouTube thing is also coming together. I’m currently in the planning stages, but I am hoping to get an official show going that will release a new video once a month.
Everything else will come together. In that I am confident. I think I can have a final draft of The Wolfpack complete by the end of the semester, and I can possibly plan a fall release (appropriately around Halloween). That’ll give me time to give it a good copy edit and get a killer cover for it. I can also start working on my next self-published work (which I’m super excited to begin).
Well that’s my ramble for the day. Since things are freeing up, I plan on being on here more, though I won’t commit myself to any specific schedule. Next time it’ll be back to the same old ramblings about movies and books and junk.
Last time I stopped in I chatted a bit about politics (which, I loved and will more than likely do again in the near future). Well, I thought today would be one of those “life update” posts. You know, one of those ones where I ramble on about shit you don’t care about.
Well, deal with it. This is my space.
(I should probably go back to anger management)
For those of you who don’t know, I moved again. That makes it 2.5 moves in four months! There was also this really cool period where I was technically kind of homeless (don’t worry wifey and the baby were fine). But, now we have moved into our new apartment and I am back in school as of last week. The good thing about this semester is I’ll actually be writing a ton, so you guys might see some killer samples of stuff I’m working on.
Speaking of writing, I have actually been doing that a lot here lately as well. There were some financial hardships during this summer (refer to technically homeless above), so The Wolfpack isn’t quite ready. But I have been upping my game a lot, which I guess was the whole point. I have a rather beautiful short story I’m working on titled Darker Than Dreams (douchey, I know) that I’m quite proud of. I’m also hoping to have The Wolfpack shaped up for a late October release, which would actually be perfect given the theme of the story.
In a professional sense, I recently signed a contract to work with another website. I don’t have all the details yet, but it should be launching some time in September. This one is exciting because it is a massive pay bump and definitely a step up in my career. As usual, though, I am still writing for TechVise, The Appzine, and Tech Malak. I’ve also decided that I am going to start posting all of my work from those sites here to share it with you guys (and maybe attract some new followers)!
I’ve also been talking with my wife and a good friend about possibly starting my own site. The target audience would be millennials, and it would be a kind of one stop shop for everything young people want to know about: tech, politics, entertainment, the whole shebang. I’m still in the planning phases of that, but hopefully in the next 6-7 months I can get something rolling.
More in creative endeavors, I also want to pick up film making. As many of you know, I started a YouTube channel where I go by the viciously clever name Calebrity. Well, there will be a new video there soon (hopefully in the next week), and within the next several months I am hoping to upload my very first short film. I already have most of my equipment, but I think we can all expect a December release for that considering my school schedule. Along with YouTube, I also started a Let’s Play channel with my best pal Mac, who is lame and doesn’t have any social media links. You can check out our channel here, and expect a lot more games to come in the near future.
Blogging wise, I think I will actually be able to do this a lot more often. On top of sharing my articles from freelancing, I have been graced with a lot more time at home despite now having a part-time job and school. This means I’ll be blogging more, hopefully. But, instead of just writing, I want to incorporate my family more into this space. You may see a lot about kids’ cartoons, parenting advice, and maybe even some recipes since I’ll be picking up cooking more.
Well, that’s enough self-indulgent regurgitation for today, I think. Hopefully you are all excited and I’ll see you on the flip side!
Oh, btw, if you haven’t watched Attack on Titan yet, DO IT! You are seriously wasting your life otherwise.
So, in case you didn’t hear, I made a YouTube video. It basically amounts to me drunkenly rambling about a book I read (or listened to rather). It was a lot of fun, and I’m excited to do more. I also learned a few things that I’d like to share with you. Think of this as sort of your crash course from a first time YouTuber.
1. Editing Is A Bitch
There really isn’t any other way to say it. Editing is tough. I imagine it is easier with higher end software (or at the very least a Macbook). But, I don’t have any fancy software, yet alone the resources to buy it (editing software is crazy expensive). All I had at hand was Windows Movie Maker (which isn’t terrible, I guess) and the YouTube editor. The YouTube editor was irritating, but it was also kind of simple to use, so that was helpful.
But, yeah, editing is hard. I hear it gets easier as you figure out what you’re doing, so I guess I’ll just have to keep it up.
2. Equipment Is Also A Bitch
This first video taught me that I am going to have to invest in some things. I like to think that for my first video it didn’t turn out terribly. The video was shot with my camcorder propped up on some boxes. I also managed the light by putting a bright lamp on my computer tower and casting it with an umbrella, like so:
If I want the quality to improve in my videos, I’m gonna have to get a tripod. I also need a better mic because the one on my camera sounds like a bag of dicks choking on another, larger back of dicks. I have seen a lot of equipment that will help me record on my iPhone, and honestly that may be the direction I go for most of my work.
3. Some Graphics Will Help
I’m sure everyone enjoyed hearing me ramble for 10 minutes with nothing of particular interest happening. And by enjoyed it, I mean probably watched for ten seconds, didn’t laugh, and turned the video off. That’s okay. I forgive them, because frankly the video was a little dry. That’s why I’m going to try and spice things up with some nice animations this time around. It will help everything out a lot I think.
4. I Should Also Plan Ahead A Little Bit More
Yeah, I was drunk when I made the video, but I still think the video needed a bit more focus. If I had written out things I wanted to say before hand (instead of the god awful “outline” I prepared), I think it would have turned out better. I wouldn’t have edited out so much, and I probably could have cracked a few more jokes because I had actually stewed on it.
But, it’s a learning process, and hopefully this helped you out if you’re thinking of doing your own videos. Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes, as I have.
Anyway, if you want to watch the video, you can below:
Also be sure to buy The Martian by Andy Weir here.
In case you didn’t bother to read the title, I’m on the YouTube now. My first video is me drunkenly talking about The Martian by Andy Weir. It isn’t terrible (the video that is, the book is quite excellent), but I’m excited to do more and make more videos in the future. I plan on having a new video every Friday, and I’ll post and share it here. Hopefully you all get a laugh and subscribe.
As many of you (and by that I mean maybe for or five of you) noticed, I didn’t do a blog post last week. That’s to be expected. I’m kind of bad at this. But, BUT! I have a decent excuse. Lots of work + shitty internet = no pretty blog words.
But I’m back this week, baby.
And I have nothing to talk about.
So let’s talk about the REAL reason I didn’t write my blog.
I’m just a lazy ass person.
Like REALLY lazy.
Like, I won’t even commit to a whole paragraph lazy.
So, I’m lazy. We all know this. My hit and miss blog is a keen example of it. But I’m also lazy when it comes to work. I’m a freelance writer, and a lot of times I will wait until the last minute to do an article for someone. Here’s some advice for all you up and coming freelance writers out there: …DON’T FUCKING DO THAT SHIT!!!
Where I’m probably the laziest is with my fiction writing. I find myself falling into the same ruts I hear other writers complain about.
“I’ve just got writer’s block.”
“I’m too busy with other work.”
“I’ll have time on the weekend.”
Well, I have resolved to change this about myself. And I think I have a pretty full proof plan to do it. So here is CALEB’S ULTRA MEGA SUCCESS PLAN TO GET HIS SHIT TOGETHER AND BECOME A FULL TIME FICTION PLAN!!
Step One – Get Your Shit Rollin’ Fool!
So I’m kind of a night owl, but I need to stop using that as an excuse to sleep in. I need to stop using that as an excuse to sleep in though. I’m finding more and more that I’m more productive when I actually wake up and get shit done. So I’m gonna wake up early (by which I mean, like, 9 because fuck sunrise), drink some coffee, eat some damn breakfast, and get crackin’. I don’t actually work that many hours a week, so realistically I could be done with all my work by 2 o’clock everyday. Yet, for some reason it takes me all fucking day to get things done.
Step Two – Fiction First!
If I want fiction to be my top priority, then it needs to be my top fucking priority. No more putting it off until all of my other work is done. Fiction will be the start of my day, every day. 7 days a week, 365 days a year. If I want this to be my life, then it needs to be my fucking life.
Step Three – Get That Shit Out There!
But, I know I’m a lazy person. Just telling myself this won’t be enough to get me going on all of this. That’s why I’m going to get everything I can out to you guys, my audience, and anyone else who will read as often as possible.
Remember my novella The Wolfpack? The one I’ve been “writing” for almost a year now? Yeah, that shit comes out JULY 31th. Period. No questions asked.
My experimental self-publishing project Eden’s Prosper, an episodic sci-fi thriller that will launch my series of Aspen Zaide adventures, will launch sometime in Q1 of 2016 if not sooner.
And I’ll have at least 1, hopefully 2, novels coming out next summer.
You guys will be my inspiration to keep it going.
It Won’t Be Easy…
But I know I can do it. I truly believe I have refined my skills enough to market my work. I’m a capable writer, and I write quickly. There is absolutely no reason why I can’t do everything I just said.
If you haven’t been following me, you need to start. Cause shit’s gonna get real. There will be a new blog post every Monday. I will have a cover reveal for The Wolfpack Monday, July 19th.
It’s gonna be exciting guys. Make sure you don’t miss out.
Well guys…it’s been a while. Don’t worry, I have a good excuse. I wrapped up a pretty grueling move, caught up on a lot of work, and went on a vacation.
There was also my anniversary. That’s right. My wife has made it two years without totally murdering my face (though I do notice that her butcher knife creeps ever closer night after night, but I’m sure it’s nothing).
For our anniversary, my wife and I saw Mad Max: Fury Road. I think all of the loud noises and scary crazy people made her nauseous, and it no doubt jostled up the growing semi-person inside of her.
I, on the other hand, was totally blown away by the movie.
It should without a doubt be the biggest hit of the summer. But, it won’t be because of this pesky Avengers movie lurking about.
(Age Of who? Is that that dog brand you can buy at the K-Mart? Why would they make a movie about that?)
Anyway, if you are on the fence about which movie to see this summer (you know, because movie tickets cost $18, requires a two-year subscription to Mindless Movie Goer magazine, and it gives the devil permission to crash on your couch a few days out of the year), let me decide for you. Go see Mad Max.
You know, because I’m on the internet.
And that makes me smarter than you.
(I knew the whole time. I just wanted to give you hope that you’re smarter than me, which you’re not. Loser)
(God, I get distracted).
ANYWAY, here is literally (by which I mean metaphorically) every reason Mad Max: Fury Road is better than Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Oh, and spoilers (kind of).
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD VS AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
BATTLE OF THE SUBTITLES!!!
1. Mad Max’s Villain is Actually Villainous, and We Know Why
In my last blog post, I talked about how Ultron was kind of wishy-washy, and he seemed to flip back and forth on what he was doing or what he wanted. Did he want to become human? Or was he better than humans? I don’t know. Both, I guess.
But, in Fury Road, we are faced with a villain that has very clear motivations from the very beginning: Immortan Joe. We know what Joe is all about from the get-go. He is a ruthless, power-hungry warlord who keeps his followers under control by depriving them of water (and no doubt other vital things). The movie does this without any expositional dialogue. It is all from the context of the world (and a particular scene that drives this idea home and moves the story forward).
It is also clear rather early on what Immortan Joe wants during this movie. After Furiosa takes off with his slave-wives, he makes it immensely obvious that the most important thing to him is getting them back. It is also made clear that Immortan Joe wants these wives to produce healthy children to take his place. Granted, this is often displayed through somewhat clunky, in your face dialogue, but at least it is clear and understandable. Immortan Joe also never wavers from this position. He doesn’t have other things on his mind. He doesn’t dick around trying to accomplish other tasks. He wants what he wants, and he pursues it.
Immortan Joe is also fucking terrifying. Not so much in frame or stature like Ultron, but just in the things he does. It’s clear that Joe is a fucking lunatic, and he leads a whole lot of other lunatics on a high speed chase through the desert. This is a man who will kill you because…well, he doesn’t need a reason. He’s just like that. He doesn’t try to be witty or charming. He just fucks people up.
(Wow, really busting the f-bombs in this section. Momma would be so proud.)
2. The Action Was Meaningful and Awesome
Referring back to my last post, I also criticized the action in Age of Ultron. Well, that still stands. Especially when you compare it to the INTENSE PULSE-POUNDING SPHINCTER-CLENCHING MOTHERFUCKERY THAT IS MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. Seriously, the action in Fury Road is just beyond awesome. But why? It has just as much, if not more than, Age of Ultron. Why is it better?
Well, let’s take a look.
First, let’s look at the opening scenes. Both start with an action sequence (Avengers invading the Hydra base, and Max in a short-lived car chase). What are the biggest differences between them?
Well, context for starters. See, Age of Ultron starts with action. Like, one of the first things you see is Thor slamming into someone. Fuck if I know who the guy is, but Thor is tearing his shit up so he must be the bad guy, right? It’s probably a solid three minutes before someone (I think it might have been Cap, but I don’t remember) says something about the place they’re raiding being a Hydra base. At that point, you’re like “Oh, it’s Hydra. Now this fight scene makes sense. Maybe Thor wasn’t just being a dick.”
Now let’s examine the opening sequence to Mad Max. We see Max staring at a barren landscape, talking all doom and gloom. Then he eats a lizard. Then some people chase him and throw exploding spears at his car. Then there is some crazy exposition, and then Max gets chased by ICP fans more crazy people. Then the rest of the movie happens.
So what’s the difference?
Well Fury Road gives us a little more context throughout the opening sequence. He says something in his opening monologue about not knowing who is crazier, him or everyone else. Then some crazy people chase him. We know they’re crazy because Max alluded to it in his earlier statements. So we at the very least know what kind of people they are and why they are dangerous. Sure, we still suffer from “Who the fuck is that?” syndrome for a few minutes, but that is part of the mystery of the story.
The action in Fury Road is also significantly stronger than Age of Ultron because we learn about the world and the story through it. In Age of Ultron, all of the action sequences are simple breaks in the story. They look nice, sure. But they don’t necessarily drive character motivations until the end of the movie. For instance, when Ultron crashes the Avengers’ party, the scene would have had just as much resonance if he had flown away or self-destructed. The whole 2-3 minute action sequence literally adds nothing to the story. Same with the Hulk vs. Iron Man sequence. The only thing that scene did was potentially set up plot elements for a totally different movie.
Now look at Fury Road. 90% of the movie is driving cars and said cars exploding. Yet, it is during these sequences that we learn the most about the world and its inhabitants. We learn the crazy religion Immortan Joe and his followers abide by, we learn about the roles of women in this society, and we see Max change from an instinctive survivor to a post-apocalyptic human rights activist (well, if we stretch our imaginations a bit that’s what he becomes).
3. Fury Road Understands Story Structure
This also technically applies to the action sequences. In fact, it applies to that more than anything. Because Age of Ultron does understand story structure. It has an exposition, rise and falls in action, a climax, and it ties it all up at the end. So, if it follows the right structure, why don’t I give a shit by the end of the movie?
Well, most of it lies in the action.
Since Age of Ultron starts with lots of action, the audience has nowhere to go. The movie literally starts with a raid on a Hydra base, and there is even some super vs. super action. Compared to this, most of the fight scenes in the movie seem to be relatively small in scale. That’s because an effective action movie builds the intensity of the action in parallel with the intensity of the story.
Fury Road does this almost perfectly. The movie starts with a short chase that is just long enough to tease the audience with what is to come. Then there is a super long car chase, which climaxes with a huge sandstorm. A short break in action, then there is a longer car chase with more guns and more cars getting torn to shit. Then a break for story stuff. Then the final car chase, which is literally crazy. Like seriously. This is the moment when George Miller pulls out all the stops. This is when the movie gives us everything we have been promised. There is also some blood (which the movie is surprisingly sparing on). It also has one of the best villain kill-offs I think I have ever seen.
The reason I (and no doubt you) care more about what is happening in Fury Road as opposed to Age of Ultron is because the action builds with the movie.
Well that’s my two cents for the day. So yeah, Mad Max: Fury Road is better than Age of Ultron in pretty much every way, at least from an action/story standpoint. What did you guys think of the movie? Which did you like more? Dish it out in the comments.
New post on Wednesday. I’m not sure what I’ll talk about yet. Probably Kung Fury. Have you watched that shit? Well, you should.
If you can’t tell by the title, I wasn’t overly impressed by Avengers: Age of Ultron. I’m not saying I didn’t like it. I did. I just thought it could have been…better. A lot better.
A lot, a lot better.
So, bear with me because I’m going to lay it all out for you here. We’ll talk about what worked, and what didn’t. What was awesome, and what was lame. Then you can all comment and call me a nerd or whatever.
Alright. *knuckles crack* Let’s do this.
Oh, by the way, spoiler alert. In case you didn’t read the title.
EVERYTHING (WELL, NOT REALLY) WRONG WITH THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
1. Ultron Kind Of Sucked As A Villain
Let’s be honest here for a second. Ultron really was a blow-hard of a villain. I’m sure I could think of a ton of other A.I. in film who are way more terrifying antagonists than Ultron. Have you even seen 2001: A Space Odyssey? Wait, you haven’t? Really? REALLY?? Get out of here.
Anyway, he wasn’t that great, and I think I know why. To me, Ultron was kind of all over the place as a character. When we first see him, he doesn’t understand what he sees or what he is, but he quickly understand what his resolve is (i.e. destroy the Avengers).
Remember that scene when he crashes the Avengers’ little get together? That was one of the most resonating scenes of the whole movie. That is the moment where Ultron truly felt like a villain, and he was terrifying.
Fast forward four or five minutes, and now he is ten feet tall and absolutely intimidating. Yet…he’s intimidating, and it’s because Ultron’s whole dynamic has changed. Now he’s whimsical and he cracks jokes. His entire being (literally!) has changed from that first scene.
But, BUT!” I hear you cry, “The reason Ultron is like that is to reflect his relationship to Tony Stark. You see, Ultron is merely a reflection of Stark’s recklessness, and that is personified through his humorous, albeit morbid persona!”
First off, you are a very elegant speaker.
Secondly, I could see that reasoning IF IT WAS EVER BROUGHT UP IN A MEANINGFUL WAY!
Sure there’s the scene where Ultron freaks out for being compared to Tony Stark (which was actually a good scene), and Scarlet Witch makes an off-handed comment about Ultron being like Tony Stark…but, that’s it.
The parallelism is a moot point if it doesn’t ever have any substantial impact on the story.
Which it doesn’t.
Not even a little.
If the movie had developed on these ideas, it would have made Ultron a stronger character. Reversely, if they had kept him cold and ruthless, that also would have made him a stronger character. The Ultron we got is kind of wishy-washy and his motivations are just a bit too vague.
I will say, though, when we says the little “no strings on me” poem, that’s creepy. And awesome.
2. The Character Development Kind Of Sucked, Too
I understand that in a canon universe like this your characters can’t radically change. More or less the characters have to be the same personality wise.
But, that doesn’t mean they can’t learn something.
Like…say for example, maybe you shouldn’t rush into building hyper-advanced A.I. that may or may not try to destroy the world. But, I mean, that’s just one example.
That’s also not saying there wasn’t any character development at all. I really liked the dynamic forming between Bruce Banner and Black Widow. It was a romance that I actually found rather believable. But…that was it, really. No one else changed.
Captain America didn’t learn anything.
Tony Stark didn’t learn anything.
The Hulk realizes things he already knows (i.e. he’s a monster that is very difficult to contain).
No one changes in this movie whatsoever (unless you count dying as a character change).
The only person who seems to be a little different is Black Widow, and it’s not even a good change. It just seems like in this movie, as a clear symbol of feminism and the power of women, Black Widow was significantly weaker in this movie. It’s not necessarily because she falls for Bruce Banner, but rather some of the implications that come with it.
Remember the scene during the climax where Black Widow is freed by Bruce Banner? What does she say? She doesn’t say “Let’s kick some robot ass.”
She says “Go be a hero.”
As if she isn’t one.
As if only men can be heroes.
(A side note, kudos to my best friend Mac for pointing this out to me.)
As a character who has regularly taken an active role in these movies, especially during fights, this is totally against her character and what she stands for.
And don’t even get me started on the part where they start talking about having a family.
You know, because that’s all women want when they fall in love: a farmhouse and three kids. Nothing else. Not ever.
3. Now That I Think About It, The Action Kind Of Sucked Too
Well, it didn’t suck necessarily. It just…wasn’t amazing. It looked very nice and cool things happened, but it wasn’t something new. We’ve seen fight scenes like that before in these movies. Oh, there was a giant army of robots at the end of the movie? Too bad no one has experience fighting robots.
*Re-watches Iron Man 2 and Iron Man 3.*
THEY’VE TOTALLY DONE THAT BEFORE!
But they’ve never had to save the whole world before. Wait.
*Watches Avengers for the ten millionth time.*
THEY DID THAT TOO!!
This movie literally brings nothing new to the table. Well, it introduced The Vision, and that was basically the only perfect thing about the movie. They nailed that character. Bravo.
But, yeah. Nothing else. Remember when Marvel Studios and Disney took a risk and made Guardians of the Galaxy? Remember how crazy awesome that movie was?
Yeah, Age of Ultron isn’t anything like that.
It just wasn’t creative enough, which is sad because I know how creative Joss Whedon can be.
I was just disappointed. That’s all. I can honestly say I have Prometheus syndrome (that nasty disease where the trailer for the movie is actually better than the movie) from Age of Ultron. Maybe it’s my fault though. I was honestly expected more of a character movie. I thought, as the in-between movie, it would take some time to develop some issues among the cast. I thought it would touch on more personal issues that they may not have time for in the real end of the world showdown that will be Avengers 3. So maybe it’s my fault I didn’t enjoy the movie as much.
I also thought they would touch on the ideas that will show up in Captain America: Civil War. They didn’t do that either, but I can see how the events of this movie will lead into that conflict. Anyway, it’s not my favorite Marvel movie, but it’s still not bad.