Dramatic announcement

Building another site didn’t work out the way I wanted but I’ve reached the point where I don’t want to fight it anymore. Success?

Anyway, I am moving the Ela-stories and my occasional thoughts on whatever to https://rocketcat.productions/ and this site will no longer be updated. Sidenote if anyone wants to buy the elatheexpert domain name the price is $1.6 million or best offer. Any English Language Arts experts out there? Does anyone know Andromache?

I’ve posted a super secret sneak preview of the next chapter of the Ela-pocalypse on the new site site.

I’ll probably poke at it occasionally and try to make it better, but I doubt it will change much.

To anyone not making the jump thanks for reading, although probably you won’t see this either.

To all the bots, 01110011001101110111101 – LOL RIGHT?!

To everyone else, see you on the other side.

And its rider’s name was Death

Years back I read a book about writing screenplays.  It claimed that screenplays are usually 80-120 pages.  Google agrees that around 100 pages is standard for a screenplay.  When I had the idea to do the Grace in-universe wildly out of character screenplay that a fan wrote about her I figured 80 pages would be no problem. 

The end product was only 60 pages.  Obviously doesn’t matter since it’s just for fun, but it got me wondering about the actual process of writing a screenplay, specifically one with a lot of action.  What I read is that a screenplay with a lot of action can be shorter, but I think that’s where the 80 pages comes in. 

If we go by the loose rule that everyone agrees is not right, each page is about a minute.  So I got a sixty minute movie?  Even the Walking Tall remake was longer than that. 

Side story – I was at a movie theater to see something else when people were getting out of Walking Tall and they were PISSED.  Several people thought that there had to be a reel missing (movies used to be on reels you see).  And here’s the thing, I’ve seen Walking Tall, and for what’s there it’s TOO long.  It’s a 79 minute movie that somehow drags in the middle.  It’s uncanny. 

I think what happened there is that the Rock was sort of becoming a thing so they wanted to make this movie and then they were like “oh this dude can’t carry a movie yet” so they kept things short.  REAL short. 

Anyway, it got me to wondering how a real screenwriter figures out how much action there’s going to be.  How long is the screenplay for Die Hard?  How much time in an action movie is spent on action?  I’ve seen tons of action movies and I have no idea.  In a two hour movie is there an hour of punching and shooting and car chasing?  Half an hour?  Fifteen minutes?  In Mad Max Fury road I feel like the action in most of it, and there’s like 15 pages of dialog. 

And how do you know how much time action is going to take as you’re writing it? 

I glossed over all the action stuff because I don’t like writing action stuff and I don’t think people like reading it either, and also because I’m lazy, but what I’ve read is that in a real screenplay you would do the same thing. 

A REAL screenwriter told me that a big mistake people make with action screenplays is trying to detail out all the action.  His example was to think about Saving Private Ryan, if you tried to write out everything that was going on in just the first scene you’d have hundreds of pages just on that.  And it would be insane and unfilmable.  The actual script is very much just some bullet points about what the scene should be, leave the rest to the stunt coordinators and the director and whatnot. 

What I wonder is how does that look on the page?  Do you put in some details about action scene 1 and then put how long it’s supposed to be?  There has to be some guideline right?  I don’t think you just start filming and see what happens. 

The other thing I wonder is when you’re a real writer and your screenplay is too short what do you do?  Because if there’s one thing I think I know about writing is that when you’re adding stuff just to have more stuff it’s always bad.  I believe that whatever story you envision when you’re done that’s how long it is.  Trying to make it longer is never going to work well. 

Not exactly the same, but that’s a lesson I had to learn as a GM/DM/whatever with roleplaying games.  Sometimes when a campaign was going really great and everyone was having fun I didn’t want it to end so I’d add more stuff before the end.  And that’s always when the campaign started to suck.  Because the story got derailed by other crap and things got muddied. 

I listen to a Star Trek podcast hosted by two TV writers and I have learned (according to them) that 95% of the time when you see an episode where there’s a weird scene that makes no sense it’s because the episode was short X minutes so they had to write more stuff. 

I’m really curious what a real screenwriter would do if they were 30 pages short.  How can you approach that in a way that gives you a chance not to just bolt on something stupid? 

Joke or not, I think the structure of A Pale Horse is what it’s supposed to be.  Opening scene establishes who she is, magic lady who wails on people and saves the world.  Then we have the problem, her friend is dead, a woman is missing, someone is up to no good.  Then we have the end, where she finds out what’s up and wails on some chumps to save the world. 

If we pretend this is a serious thing what should be added?  I love interest?  That’s not always part of an action movie, and if it is she usually dies without having done much so the hero can freak out.  I will admit in the original draft, since the idea was that this was a screenplay written in-universe by one of Grace’s fans there was a sex scene.  I took that out for you fine people that might actually read it.  I suppose in a real movie you’d put that in.

The ending does seem a little abrupt maybe?  Maybe what you would do is put in some scenes of the bad guys to show what evil stuff they’re up to.  I wanted to keep it all focused on Grace, but maybe that’s what you’d do. 

I did try writing a “real” screenplay years ago and I had the same issue, ended up too short.  That’s why I never finished it, I thought the story was good and any time I tried to add anything I thought it made things worse. 

I suppose in the world of movies and TV you just add more stuff anyway because you have time to fill even if it’s not going to be good. 

Anyway, I enjoyed writing it.

Gaaah

The move to the new site was slow and boring but things were going well. UNTIL one of my uploads got screwed up and now everything is a mess. As an IT man I know it’s probably user error but I’m going to blame the DUMB machine anyway.

I’ve been going through trying to clean it all up, and then I want to give up because one is going to read those old posts anyway, but then I remember what my grandma told me when I got my first job at 14 sorting microfiche for an insurance company so they could transfer that data to this new fangled thing called a COM-PU-TOR

“Don’t quit, give it another day. And if you still hate it after tomorrow, give it one more day . And you just keep going like that. Forever. That’s what working is.”

It’s not quite as inspirational as “never give up, never surrender” but people of that generation were more no-nonsense.

In other news two years ago I started the Grace blog.

In other other news one year ago I started the Ela-pocalypse story. I had no idea that was so long. That probably means it’s great.

If only I had started the whole shebang in September, then I could have a triple anniversary.

Thanks for reading, or for skimming, or for pretending to read, or for being a bot. I appreciate you all very much.

Unified blog theory

I’ve been making slow and painful progress on One Site to Rule Them All – https://rocketcat.productions/ – as of now I have not moved/set-up my two active stories but I have posted Super Ela, Ela Halloween special, and random other stuff.

Very still much WIP – I know that probably lots of things don’t “work” but any feedback would be appreciated.

Note for whomever, I had a “secret” blog where I expressed feelings and opinions, that stuff is on there too. If you read it and decide you hate me that’s cool, you can just stop reading, we don’t need to talk about it.

One thing I learned is that because my girlfriend was an editor on my old blog(s) before she got overwhelmed by my deluge of CONTENT and rage quit WP thinks editor=author, so now there’s fun comments where it looks like I’m commenting on my own posts and than responding to those comments myself again like a loon.

The advice I got from my tech-friends was that WP sucks and I should use Square instead but I like WP because it’s got a weird kind of captive community of WP people. I think 100% of my readers, sometimes readers, and non-reader courtesy follows, are from me liking or commenting on their site, which I found via the WP randomly shows me stuff feature. If I just had a website floating free in the world I doubt I would “connect” with anyone.

The great debate is if I’m going to import the first Ela story, some of it is okay, but a lot of it is a slog because it was a procedurally generated solo RPG that went on for way too long.

In conclusion I find something very satisfying about tweeting out to my almost no followers about my wattpad story with one reader. I don’t mean that sarcastically, I sincerely find something comforting about it. It’s like telling your cat a secret, it’s technically meaningless but somehow it isn’t?

Question

I’m thinking about creating a new site where I post all my writing instead of maintaining separate blogs for separate stories and randomly putting in out of character stuff.

The documentation for merging sites seem okay. Has anyone done it? My main question is do the followers get brought over the new site? I’d hate to lose my 2-7 loyal readers and my 200 bots.

OOC – Update

Far more successful bloggers than I say that updates are important. One of these more successful bloggers is also doing a “no self-depreciation” challenge so I won’t say why I think they aren’t important.

Today’s post is going to be the last one in the main Elapocalypse story for a while. I’ve been running out of steam for a bit and I want to shake things up.

You see when I was a kid there used to be this thing called TV shows. They made loads of them and most of them didn’t survive. Like fish laying eggs. Sometimes when a show was not doing well they’d try to tweak it a little to save themselves. It never worked. I’ve always thought it would be neat if in that situation the show took a wild swing. If your sitcom about a married couple in Chicago isn’t working how about you inexplicably make it a supernatural drama about mummies?

If you’re going down why not go nuts?

I know why, they have to think about their careers, but the point is I’m going to do some flashbacks/background/prequels/whatever where things get funky. Why not? I’m just writing for my own amusement anyway.

Anyway, I’m probably going to take a few posts off before I start up with that. Or post about random stuff.

What kind of random stuff? Stuff like this – when I started out on WP I had three blogs. With my busy social calendar that was one blog two many. Now that I’m re-posting blog #2 on wattpad I’m getting into the same scenario. I’m doing a lot more new material on wattpad that I planned.

Sidenote, I found out that “wattpad boy” is slang for a dude who’s super-dreamy, which makes me more convinced than ever that it’s for 12-year old girls and maybe I shouldn’t be there.

The funny thing is I would prioritize wattpad first even though I only have 1 reader and I think it’s a terrible platform to attract readers. Maybe just because I’m exciting to be re-writing the Grace story.

OOC – Wednesday ramblin’

I was reminded recently that I joined twitter because a package was delivered to my house by mistake and the only company information on it was a twitter handle.  Sidenote, getting that package to its rightful owner I learned that tons of people will tell you everything about where someone lives and all sorts of other personal details even if say you don’t want to know and you just want to send a package back. 

Thinking about that reminded me that I joined Facebook because I heard Paul F Thompkins had a deal where if you got 300 people in your area to join a FB group he would come to do stand-up in your town.  Shortly afterwards I found out that he had stopped doing that because a guy in Texas repeatedly set up tons of fake accounts to get him to come to book shows that no one would buy tickets for.  Why?  Did that person have a personal beef with Paul F Thompkins?  Also he doesn’t even do stand-up anymore. 

One time I almost joined Instagram because I wanted a lady to draw a picture for me and that was her only contact.  Thankfully I had someone else make that request for me. 

Wattpad calls itself social media but seems different to me.  I joined that because a guy on another blog talked about it. 

Twitter sent me down a Kickstarter hole the other day and I saw all kinds of cool comic books that will never be made.  That got me to thinking about all the great stuff on Wattpad I read that will never be made. 

That got me to thinking about a guy I used to game with sometimes.  He was in a band called the Hudson Falcons.  I was curious if I would find anything about them with google and I did. 

He got back from a tour of Europe and decided to hang it up and work in an office.  I found this a surprising.  I figured if a band was touring Europe that meant they were doing well. 

He told me something that has stuck with me.  I’ve probably blogged about it before.  He had come to realize that “normal” jobs are expandable.  The more people there are in the world the more accountants and firefighters and electricians and male strippers you need.  For every X people you need Y accountants and firefighters and electricians and male strippers to meet the demand of those people. 

On the other hand with art, be it music or acting or painting or writing or drawing or whatever, you don’t always need more people doing it.  The same number of people can fulfill the demand for everyone no matter how many people there are.  The Beetles aren’t even a thing anymore and they can fulfill a good chunk of music needs no matter how many people like music. 

As he put it tons of people can be mediocre accountants and live a pretty sweet life whereas you can be a fantastic artist and never make a dime.  In theory one super awesome singer could meet the music needs of everyone in the world, but those people would still need millions of accountants. 

It’s kind of a bummer for all those comic book people on Kickstarter and Wattpad but as my yoga lady says, we don’t get angry about these things or frustrated about them, that’s just the way that it is. 

I wonder sometimes what the difference is between acceptance and nihilism.  I know that one is good and adult and the other is for immature sadboys who watch too much Fight Club. 

OOC – How sweet the sound

Every 6-11 months I drop a hint to my friends about my blogs. Then I immediately hate myself for crying for attention like a zoo orangutan begging for a mango. Sure, orangutans are much stronger than me and are better climbers and they have fiery red hair like Christina Hendricks but they can’t drive cars.

I have some new art for Grace, the character in my other blog and I think it’s cool so I’m sharing it here as well.

Credit – instagram.com/jdirenzo

I’ve also started re-writing and posting that blog from the beginning on wattpad – https://www.wattpad.com/1239343099-the-shine-hello

I think wattpad might be an even worse way to attract readers but on the plus side it keeps track of where you are in the chapters which is the excuse some people have given for why they don’t read my blogs.

O meu hovercraft está cheio de enguias

I saw this on twitter and it’s a good image for Martialla current day – I don’t know what copyright I’m in violation of, as always I apologize

I’m not a writer.  Actually that’s not true, since everyone else is dead instead I’m the best writer in the world.  This journal I’m writing will become classic literature in the future.  While I’m at it I suppose I should set about re-writing all the world’s great novels and claiming I’m the original author.   See you in hell Tolstoy!   

Anyway, I was not a writer in the world I came from is the point.  However, I know a thing or two about scriptwriting.  There are a lot of ways things that can go wrong in a script.  The stakes could be too low.  The conflict could be too easily resolved.  The characters could be subordinate to the themes they’re meant to embody which makes them flat and lifeless to the audience.  The characters could be poorly defined.  In particular character motivations are tricky.  The list of issues goes on and on.  It’s really kind of a miracle that anything good is ever written given the many pitfalls that can befall the screenwriter.   

One of the common problems with writing and the one that is my personal pet peeve is when there’s a story with bunch of characters so a writer will think “oh no, character number four hasn’t done anything in a while” so they’ll wedge in a stupid scene where that character solves a problem with whatever stupid hook the writers gave to try and make them memorable.  According to every movie ever made, every character has a special skill, and that skill will eventually save your life, regardless of how impossibly stupid it is.  The dumb kid that likes jazz will blow up the alien spaceship by playing their saxophone, or Jennifer Lopez will break open a bank vault with her ass. 

The second Lethal Weapon movie has a great example of this horrible instinct.  The first scene is Mad Max getting out of a straightjacket for the amusement of his co-workers, so you better believe that later in Lethal Weapon Two the bad guys are going to put Mad Max in a straitjacket and chuck him into the sea.  You know that classic way of killing someone. 

I was in a deleted scene for Lethal Weapon Two you know.  One of my only gigs a kid actor, I was the daughter of the “diplomatic immunity” guy.   But check this shit out, they’re currently developing Lethal Weapon Five where my character comes back for revenge, but they’re talking about giving the role to Charlize Theron, that emotionless coat-rack from the Keanu Reeves devil movie!   Can you believe that?  I’m available!

What does this have to do with anything?  If this was a movie this is where I would sneer in derision because they writers are trying too hard to make the Ela character seem useful.  She can’t fight like the other three or fix a car or fly a plane but she has girl social skills!  I mean it’s true, I do have girl social skills up the ying-yang, but the thing about movies is that realism is often not appreciated – people hate reality, it’s boring, that’s why they’re watching a movie.   

I used my talking powers to arrange for us to tag along with one of Aquaman’s water caravans which will get us in the general area of the car parts store.  And I befriended some renegade plainspeople to escort us the rest of the way there.  And I got the Jesus Lady people to send a couple folks with us to fill out our ranks a bit.  They’re religious fanatics so they should be useful if we get into a scrape.   

And that’s all fine and dandy but here’s the super sweet sixteen part.  We’re going to be traveling by water clan hovercraft.  A hovercraft!  And I mean a real one people, not the bullshit ones from my time.  We had things they call hovercrafts but they were just dumb boats, they “hovered” on the water the same way my feet “fly” on the ground.  But King Trident has an actual hovering machine that they use for his water runs.   

Lucien was confused by how excited Martialla and I were by the prospect of checking out the hovercraft. He thought it was technology from our time.  He was disappointed when we told him that there weren’t any real hovercrafts in the year 2000.   Like personally disappointed in us, like we should have invented it or something.

There’s a metal plate thing on the hovercraft that says “United Cattle Company” so at some point after the turn of the millennium but before the end of the world there were cowboys flying around on hovercrafts rounding up cattle.  I have to assume these space cowboys also had jetpacks and laser-lassos.  Now that’s a movie idea!   

Martialla had to ruin everything of course, saying that it looked like the desert skiffs from “Tattoo Nine” in Star Wars, which is a stupid name for a planet even by Star Wars standards.  To get her back I asked her if she was talking about the USS Enterprise.  She threatened to punch me in the boob but she said it with a smile.  Hovercraft! 

Martialla bombarded the crew with questions but it quickly became apparent that they had no idea how it actually works, they’ve just learned what buttons and levers they need to toggle and tweak to make it go.  I’m pretty sure there’s a name for that.  When the underlying technology has been lost but people still know how to use it day to day.  If the thing ever breaks down that will be it because no one understands the mechanics.

There has to be a lot of that going around these days.