Friday, July 6, 2012

I am terrified

I have never considered myself to be very good at coming up with my own ideas.  I wrote Star Wars fan-fiction for years, as well as imagining ridiculous ways to insert a new character into my favorite TV shows that I happened to be PERFECT to play.  (I wanted to be an actor when I was younger.)  But coming up with my own stories to tell, with original characters, conflicts and settings?  That a lot harder.

Eventually I grew out of the 'acting' bug (well...mostly anyways) and for years I have been fantasizing about being a writer.  At first, I was scared that I would only ever really come up with one good idea.  At the time I had an idea for a story that I thought was really good. I was daydreaming about the characters and the conflict quite a bit, imagining how things would play out.  But I never wrote the story.  If I had written it down, I thought, then that was it.  I'd be done.  I would never have another good story idea.

As time has passed, it's become obvious that particular fear is absolutely baseless.  I've had a pretty good number of story ideas during that time.  I would even hazard to say that the more recent ideas are better, or even significantly better, than the early ones.  Funny how that works.

But I still haven't written any of them down as anything more then brief notes or a rough outline.

Because I'm still terrified.

Terrified that I won't be any good.  That no one will like the story, or how I write it.  Or even worse, that no one will even bother reading it.

But these stories keep gnawing at me, wanting to be told.  And honestly I want to tell them.

I have a golden opportunity in the next two weeks.  My wife and kids are going to visit my in-laws for a two weeks, starting tomorrow.  I will miss them terribly, but it means I will also have almost no interruptions during non-working hours in which to write.  A couple of weeks ago I had an idea for a short story that I want to write and submit to Writers of the Future.  Now is the time to write it.

So, for the next two weeks, I'm going to write at least 1,000 words a day (hopefully more on the weekends).  I'm going to get this story written down, and go from there.

It's time to stop being afraid and actually write.

Has anyone else wrestled with this problem?  What keeps you from writing, and how do you overcome it?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Why I probably won't be seeing Brave

Update: I think I should probably lead with this: I have a friend from my college/ballroom dance days that works at Pixar and did a lot of work on Brave.  He is one of the team leads, that focuses on the cloth/clothing that the characters wear.  I actually do want to see the movie to support him and see the kind of stuff he worked on for this movie.  I just have some issues with the story, which obviously has nothing to do with the work he did.  From everything I've seen so far, his work looks phenomenal.

I think I've seen all of Pixar's movies.  Well...except for Cars 2, but that hardly counts.

So, as I was saying, I've seen almost all of Pixar's movies.  By and large I've enjoyed them quite a bit.  The animation quality at Pixar pretty much defines the standard by which all other animation studios are judged.  The story and characters are usually well defined, enjoyable to watch and easy to identify with.

Sadly, I've read the same basic complaint about Brave from several places, most notably here.  At a  high level, the problem is that there isn't a single remotely intelligent male character in the entire movie.  The father/king is more like a bumbling buffoon.  Every success he experiences is either by pure accidental luck or due to the guidance of his wife.  The triplet brothers are obviously there just to add complications to the plot.  And if you've seen the trailers with the scenes from the archery contest it's clear that none of the lords or their sons are meant to be seen as particularly intelligent either.

None of the male characters are actually characters.  At best they're caricatures.  You could almost substitute Homer Simpson of the king and a trio of Bart Simpsons for the triplets and the movie would progress without much of a change.

That's where my complaint gets a bit more specific.  Aside from every male character in the film being an idiot, I'm just tired of seeing fathers constantly portrayed as Homer Simpson clones.  Even when I was a kid Homer was only amusing for a year or two.  I'm not saying fictional fathers should suddenly be portrayed as perfect.  But treating that level of idiocy as the societal norm isn't good.

Then again, that's probably one of the big reasons I hate the various Disney channel kid shows.  Since the target audience is young children, the adults in the show (what few there are) are all idiots.  That still just makes me feel like the people behind the show are taking the easy way out.  There have to be better ways to build the show they want without resorting to that.

Anyways, yes, I acknowledge the fact that the primary characters in this movie are two female characters: the queen and her daughter.  And that is very important.

But I'm tired of movies and TV shows that seem to imply I must be the idiot of the family, just because my kids call me "Dad".