Star Wars: How To Make It Better!!

Recently, I went and saw Solo: A Star Wars Story. I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. It was fun, full of action, loved seeing Donald Glover as Lando. But here’s the thing. I had to ask myslef at the end whether I truly enjoyed it as a Star Wars fan, or if I just enjoyed it as a fun movie? It took me a while to realize it, but I hadn’t enjoyed it as a Star Wars fan. If anything, it was just a generic science fiction movie with some interesting characters and a fun heist going on (though I will admit I did love the Kessel Run. Less than 12 parsecs, haha). I wondered why it had worked for me, but not on the level of it being a Star Wars film? There are several reasons and I think they actually start with the Last Jedi, which I’ll get to after the discussion on Solo.

Han Solo has always been one of the most iconic characters in the Star Wars Galaxy. We know his look, his attitude, and his weaknesses. We also know his history, If one looks into the character of Han Solo, they’ll realize that he already had a well established origin story starting with the book series in the 1980s, I do believe, and followed in the late ’90s with The Young Han Solo Trilogy that pretty much covered his entire youth from being a their on Corellia, to pissing off the Hutts on a regular basis (there’s also a Lando Calrissian series that I hope they consult before making any new Lando adventures). The fact that they took Han Solo’s origin and almost completely threw it out the window is part of the reason why it didn’t resonate with die hard fans.

The characters didn’t resonate with fans because most of them didn’t exist, which actually makes it more of a mess than Tauriel in The Hobbit movies. There were only three characters out of the original origin that they kept, Han, Lando and Chewbacca and that is an issue. Why? Because when you mess with people’s heroes and break canon, fans don’t like that. They want the hero that’s always been what he is due to the origin they already know and love, not some bullshit that someone is just pulling out of thin air. That’s not the way it works, especially with a fandom like Star Wars. With the continuation of the story after the Trilogy and the creation of The First Order, fan were sort of okay with that, but Disney is kind of pushing their luck. Again, completely breaking with canon is not wise.  Also, where did these characters that they added to Solo come from? Who is this Qi’ra character, or these bandit types who keep chasing them, and WTF is with that reveal at the end? It’s just confusing. And for Star Wars fans who know anything about the canon, it’s just nonsense.

So what do we have to do to fix this mess? Solo wasn’t a bad film. It was actually quite good and I enjoyed it. There were just far too many issues as a fan that didn’t make it a Star Wars film. And that is what fans have to decide now. Whether they can enjoy these films as Star Wars films, or if they have to put their faith in the franchise aside and watch the movies as “just another science fiction movie.” Because, Star Wars fans won’t keep watching if they don’t feel like the franchise is staying true. They will abandon it, because suggesting that you can give them crap and they’ll just keep coming back isn’t true at all. Down the road, they’ll realize they’ve been had and they’ll walk away grumbling about the fact that Star Wars messed up Star Wars. Some already have. And no this doesn’t have anything to do with subliminal messaging from “the left” or “social justice warriors.” Star Wars has been about social justice warriors since film one. That’s just a fact.

Solo definitely didn’t get enough marketing time. Also, it was definitely released too close to The Last Jedi. There’s no doubt about that. There was literally no time to build up hype or get excited about it. Also, I don’t think Star Wars is anything they should even try to make into a Marvel Universe kind of franchise. Releasing a film every six months is just going to create over-saturation and then there will be no excitement at all because, “oh, it’s just another Star Wars movie, who cares?” I care. Many other fans still care. What they should do Disney should space them out like Warner Brothers is spacing out the Harry Potter prequels and maybe put out a new Star Wars film every year-and-a-half or so. That way people can get excited about it, hype it, make it special again.

Diversity is never a bad thing. I think that we need a director and a writer of color to work on Star Wars. The last woman to even touch Star Wars was Leigh Brackett in 1980 for The Empire Strikes Back. She passed away from cancer before the script was finished which is why George Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan also have writing credits on it. Bringing in PoC is never a bad idea. If we can get someone like Ryan Coogler to direct a Star Wars film, it would probably be great!  As for me, as I’ve stated before, I want to be the first WoC to write a Star Wars film. In fact I’ve already started. It may never see the light of day, but at least I did what I said I was going to do. Adding new voices with diverse perspectives is just something that should happen. And, we’re tired of J.J Abrams and his ridiculous nonsense, haha.

The last thing I would suggest for Disney is to go back to the original canon for the series. Maybe not completely, but just nudge it a little bit. There are so many great Star Wars characters that you’re just basically throwing in the trash. Like Mara Jade, Kyp Durron, Corran Horn, Kam and Tionne Solusar, Winter, Salla Zend, Talon Karrde, Admiral Daala, So many whose stories deserve to be told because they are part of the Star Wars fabric. And to totally throw them out and ignore them is to basically spit in the face of fans who loved them.

I have always had one rule for any director or writer who works on Star Wars, no matter who they are. They have to be fans. So far I have seen very little evidence of that. The Last Jedi was the closest film so far (maybe Rogue One), but that’s just not good enough. You have to do better, Disney, or all of the Star Wars fans are going to jump ship. Thanks for reading. I hope you liked this post! Let me know what you think!!

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Martin Freeman: Not As “Problematic” as You’d Like To Think

 

The other night, an interview came out that said that Martin Freeman was kind of glad that they were taking a long (probably permanent) break from Sherlock because fan expectation were simply too much.  I had no issue with this. If anything, I thought it was a good thing for him, after the success of Black Panther, to kind of move on from what he had been doing to whatever comes next.

Other fans weren’t that accommodating. The moment he came out with this statement, people began to attack the star and the show. They were convinced that Freeman was just whining about his success and that he was ungrateful to the fans. Well, we’ll get to the fans in a bit, but here’s the thing that really pisses me off. They think they have an excuse to call him a bad person, or in fact a terrible person, because of some of the things he has said in the past. I have been following Martin Freeman since his days in The Office, watched him when Love Actually came out. Enjoyed him as Arthur Dent in HitchHiker’s Guide, Loved him in all of the Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg films, was thrilled when he was cast in The Hobbit, endured The Hobbit and loved him in Black Panther. It just annoys me that people think that they can just get away with calling him racist. So I would like to address some of the “problematic issues” that people have with him. Just address them. Your opinion is your own. You certainly don’t have to agree with me.

I found this interesting list of problematic Martin Freeman quotes here . I am not going to address them all, but I will go through at least some of them. First of all, the racist thing. I found this quote especially interesting because I agree with it quite a bit.

 

I actually agree with this because I don’t like hearing that word. And I literally hear it all the time. And not just from African Americans. The teenagers in the school that I often work in are really into rap. Most of them are Hispanic. A good many of them actually call themselves and each other that word despite the fact that it’s not their word to use. So saying a word to point out that you don’t like to hear it and there was a time when people knew that it was an inappropriate word to call people; that’s not racist. If anything it’s the opposite of racist. What he’s saying is, “as a white man, I find this word to be inappropriate, and yet there it is.” He probably shouldn’t have called it “gangsta rap” and using the word was inappropriate, but that’s all it was. Inappropriate, not racist. And if you’d like an example of what he’s talking about, this is one of my nostalgia rap videos, but it uses that word  A LOT. So be for-warned.

 

Whenever I see this argument that he’s racist for his comment I think:

This is primarily because it’s white people saying these things about him while ignoring actual PoC who are telling them that what he’s saying is not technically racist. It would be one thing if he were saying that word to someone, or was saying that that word was okay to say. He’s doing the opposite and saying that he finds it annoying that it’s there. There was an incident last year with Bill Maher where he called himself that word. That was also not racist, It was wildly inappropriate and a bit flippant, but it was not racist.

Here’s another one that I just love. It’s just so funny that it’s sad.

  • His ENTIRE performance in Ali G Indahouse was super racist and classist. Here are a few clips to give you a taste, the entire movie is on Netflix instant.

Oh my golly. Look who missed the point of the ENTIRE film. The ENTIRE film. That’s the point. And for goodness sake, it’s Sasha Baron Cohen. He has never made in inoffensive film in his life. If this is what you truly think, then the satire went so far over your head that it’s not even funny. I mean, really.

 

Lets do another one, because I’m not really done making my point. And I do have one.

I met Lucy Liu at the Emmy’s who was charming, but very ugly.  She’s a dog, come on, she’s a very unattractive woman.

And here we have it. The one everyone seems to be obsessed with. Yes, he said an assholic thing. but Lucy Lui is a strong woman who has always played strong characters. She does not need you to fight her battles for her. Also, they probably know each other, had a good laugh about it, and then she called him a pasty white pile of  mashed potatoes. You don’t know what they’ve actually said to each other. And yet you’re just going to assume someone is a terrible person based on information you don’t and can’t know.  Trust me, she’s okay, and she’s gotten over it. If you ask her, she’ll probably say, “who?”

On his comments about multiculturalism. Yeah, they’re probably not good, but they’re not racist or Islamophobic. It basically means that he’s afraid of scary brown people. A good many people are. I mean, according to President Trump, I’m a rapist, murdering, durg peddler because I’m descended from people south of the U.S. border. My birth father was probably here illegally.  I’ve gotten a lot of flack for being a brown person. People chucking rocks at me, sitting behind me and telling racist jokes just for my benefit on the bus, the words spic and beaner coming up quite a bit. That is racism. Someone telling you to suck AIDs from a beaner d%$k. THAT is racism. Saying that some people make you uncomfortable and that they might be dangerous, that’s not racism. And given the research he must have done for Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, the chances are he knows the difference between terrorists and peaceful Islamic people.  When I see things like this, as a WoC I immediately think again:

One last thing I’d like to address before I get on with things.

He’s talking about a hobbit climbing a ladder to slip something to an elf. In case we don’t remember, elves aren’t real.

While it’s not alright to say that you were trying to slip something into someone’s goblet, he knew it was wrong almost right away and backtracked on it a bit, knowing that he had said something wrong. That’s why I don’t like websites that post quotes like this. They’re all taken out of larger conversations, and out of context. They make the person look as bad as possible while ignoring the actual conversation that’s being had. Not to mention that no one called Jason Momoa on his comment for five, maybe six years. The one where he was talking about raping women…not elves. Making a joke about raping anyone is not good. We either need to call everyone on it and hold them equally accountable, or no one. It can’t be, nah, we’re just gonna dump all our hate on this guy, but this other guy is okay. That’s not the way it works. He immediately knew it was bad and wrong. It took us five or six years to call Momoa on his comment.

Then again, Freeman came from a comedy background. That doesn’t make it okay, but it does make it somewhat more understandable. Jokes like that are rampant in the comedy world. Every comedian in the world has made at least one rape joke. And there Comes a time when you have to decide whether you’re going to be offended, or just let it be what it is, a piece of comedy that you don’t like. There are many comedians that are like this.

I don’t think Freeman is really like that. I think he does care. I think he cares about people and about his fans. But you have to understand, everyone is human. We all flub up. I certainly have. I’m not a freakin’ saint. Even if I were, I’d be a terrible one. I don’t know Martin. We will probably never have cause to meet. I just don’t like people crapping on others based on second hand information that’s created to make someone look like a jerk.

I love Martin’s work, but when he announced that he was getting tired of doing Sherlock because the fan expectations were too much, I heard everything from, “the show sucked anyway,” to, “yeah, but he’s a racist asshole anyway.” No, that is not acceptable behavior. Especially from some people who are supposed to be professional. A few years ago, he and his wife received death threats from an obsessive Sherlock fan. The writers and producers have received threats. And now, fans are claiming that the show was all about queerbaiting when the characters never were and never would be gay? Who are the real bad guys here? The guy who speaks his mind and should be free to do so as a human, or the idiots who are threatening him over his role in a television show. I know that’s a bit harsh, and it’s not representative of all Sherlock fans. But those who are responsible; you should be ashamed of yourselves.

So that’s it. That’s my final word on this whole debacle. But the fact is, you have no right to call anyone a horrible person when all you know about them is something you found on a website with little quotes that are meant to make him look bad. No. That’s not cool. Not everyone is 100% politically correct all the time. And if you’re offended, ask yourself if what you’re reacting to is truly offensive, or if you’re being offended merely to be offended. Because that’s ridiculous.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate it. If you’re offended by anything here…m’kay…

Writing Male and Female Characters: Why We Need More Women In The Writers Room

Recently, Wil Wheaton posted an article about the fact that Gillian Anderson was bothered by something. The fact that the writing team for the X-Files was all male.   Here is the link to the article. While this is indeed annoying, it is actually quite common. Despite the fact that Hollywood has called for change, little change is happening, and the status quo is still in effect. This could create a problem however. The issue being that the show has a team of men who are writing both male and female characters. There’s nothing wrong with men writing female characters. The issue is that there is a “team” of writers, and yet there is no room for even a single female writer on that team, meaning there is no true female representation or perspective. Writing for the opposite gender can be difficult. I’ll give you a few examples from myself that are interesting to consider.

As a writer who does not have a team, I cannot really and truly understand the male perspective. I have written male characters; many of them, but I am not an expert on maleness. For example, when writing a book that should be out this winter called Dragon Fire, Angel Light. Both of the main characters are male. In fact they’re males who love each other and have chosen to be together despite the fact that both are a bit supernatural and it creates issues. When writing the characters, while I can make the males male, some of their mannerisms and things that they say aren’t exactly the most male. There are quite a few instances in which the characters engage in what would be considered “mushy” behavior.  They will come straight out with the “i love yous” and the “I want to look in your eyes” when having sex (oh golly). They have no qualms about calling each other “my love”, “my lover” using terms like “making love” instead of just “doing it”. It’s all very romantic, but is it male? The fact is, I don’t really know because I’m not male.

Another example is my book Tales of the Driss, Krystal Dragons. It’s a fantasy novel based off characters and actors that have influenced and inspired me (thank you Dean O’Gorman and Aidan Turner). These guys aren’t lovers, they’re brothers, but even with their lovers, they don’t act very male. They have long conversation about how much they love their lovers after sex, they wax romantic when they’re asking their lovers to marry them, once again coming straight out with the “I love yous”.  They talk constantly about the merits of love and how it’s effected them. I don’t know if this is especially male either. Do men often go off on romantic mush fests? Do they just lie in bed and talk about how much they love their lovers after sex? Once again, I couldn’t say.

Screenplay Harold Godwinson has gone through many incarnations. and many drafts, however, the story has always stayed the same. So the relationship between Harold and his consort Edith has always been the same, and they face the same issues. An over romantic man driven more by feeling than by power, gain or perhaps even reason. Instead he’s more invested in justice, happiness, and caring. which is, once again not very manish, of so it would seem. One would think that the second most powerful man in Britain would be mad for the power that he could claim for himself, going forth on his own conquests and calculating his possibility for advancement. That’s not the way he’s written because when I looked at his life, that’s not the way he seemed. A man writing for this character might have seen the more calculating man in search for power. I did not. He loves his consort, he loves his land, he’s not out for himself, he’s looking out for everyone else, which may or may not be very male.

There are many stereotypes that still exist when one writes female characters. This may be because that is how women have always been portrayed to men. Seeing as history and many of the great works from the past were written by men, the male perspective may have overshadowed some of the truths about women. Throughout history, women have always been cast in certain roles. The two most classic being the fool and the seductress, or sometimes even both. If we look at the Bible, there is the story of Adam and Eve. There is Eve who is the first one seduced in the garden to eat the fruit which makes her the fool, and then she convinces Adam to eat the fruit as well, in a way seducing him into doing so. No one considers the fact that the second hand information given to her from Adam about the Fruit may not have impressed the danger of eating it. There is the story of Pandora who just couldn’t resist opening a box because, you know, the curious woman. There’s the story of Samson and Delilah, the seductress who betrays her lover through seduction and lust, and there’s the fallacy that Mary Magdalene was a whore. If we can break the stereotypes, then we can write better women. And who is the best at understanding women and the stereotypes applied to them? Women.

While it’s not a bad thing for men to write female characters; some female characters are wonderful, powerful, beautiful, and non-stereotypical. They’ve been written by great authors like Ibsen, Tolkien Hardy and so many others. However it’s also not a bad idea to have a woman to at least help better understand women and how women think, act, interact. And when you can have a team of writers, I’m sure that there’s room for at least one woman. Women need to be heard, as the female voice is just as important as the male voice, especially when a woman can write a woman for women. She wants the same opportunities that male writers get. She’s just as good, just as creative, just as interesting, and has the added bonus of being a woman. This also applies to people of color, but that’s a discussion for another time. Maybe next blog. Women want a chance to write. If Hollywood gives it to them, Hollywood won’t be sorry.

 

Thoughts on “Logan”

*I shall attempt a no spoilers post*

I recently went and saw the movie “Logan” which is the last film in the Marvel film series about the X-Men (or so it would seem).  I must say that as a person who has found just about every Marvel movie annoying since the original X-Men series, I was very pleased with this movie.  While all of the X-Men films, and Marvel films in general, have been the same special effects driven, generic movies, “Logan” had a a gritty, real world feel to it that made it far more engaging than the usual superhero movie.

That is because Logan (played by Hugh Jackman) is one of the few characters from the original films that is still a mutant and still has powers. However it becomes clear very early in the movie that his powers are waning, and he’s not the paragon of strength that “Wolverine” used to be. He’s looking old, his scars are showing, his eyesight is failing, he limps like a man whose worked too hard and is in his sixties, and his wondrous healing powers that had seen him through so much are disappearing. He also seems to be extremely depressed. After years of being something, he’s been reduced to a limo driver whose purpose is to drive around drunken idiots. He’s also taking care of his old friend, Professor Charles Xavier (played by Patrick Stewart) whose very old and suffering from Alzheimer. Logan has no choice but to watch as one of the most powerful minds in the world deteriorates into nothing. Professor X, on the other hand, is very aware that people are “just waiting for him to die.” Many older people experience this, which brings to Xavier a feeling of mortality as he realizes the restrictions of his brilliance brought on by old age.

The audience gets the feeling that Logan is about ready to give up. He’s carrying around an Adamantium bullet, the only thing that he knows that can definitely kill him. He’s realized that most of the purpose in his life has gone away, and he is ready to die. When he meets the little girl Laura, who has powers just like him, his will to live is renewed as he cannot help but love the child who becomes more than a little special to him.

Logan is a very interesting character to study, especially as he progresses through the series. When we first meet Logan, he is, indeed, a cage fighter in Canada, running away from a past he can’t remember and trying to avoid all human contact. This is probably because he’s trying to avoid getting hurt. He is very aware that if you care about anything, losing it means the potential for emotional pain. While he presents himself as a character with a massive chip on his shoulder who cares for no one, that doesn’t seem to be the case at all. In fact, he may be a loner, but he also has a big heart that is easily shattered by loss and pain. Throughout the series there are several deaths and un-requited love stories that he goes through.

What Logan’s attitude boils down to in the end is fear of loss, fear of pain, and possibly just a desire to not have to deal with that anymore. By the time we reach the Logan story, he has to be almost three hundred years old. In that span of time, one can be witness to more human tragedy than anyone should ever suffer. Some part of him probably longs for mortality, the release of death means the release from pain, which is probably why he carries that bullet around with him.

As Logan goes through the story, he realizes that he doesn’t have to kill himself. With his failing powers, he’s staring down mortality. And he realizes the limits of his strength just as any normal human would. The audience can tell that this brings him both relief and fear. But there’s one last thing he has to do. That he has to finish. And finish it he will, even if it ends him.

The movie “Logan” is all about endings. In some ways it is also about beginnings. There is the classic theme of passing the torch from one generation to the next. This is a theme that is as old as story telling as the old hero passes his sword to his child so that the child may carry on when he can no longer. It is also a story about how even heroes all fallible. Logan, who was once invincible, is no longer what he used to be. The mask of the hero is lifted to reveal a mere mortal. It is also about facing down fear, whether it be the fear of taking the risk and loving someone, or the fear of mortal limitations. All in all, it is perhaps the best film in the series.

Just like Deadpool, this movie is not really appropriate for children as it has it’s share of swearing and stabbing people through the head. However the violence in this movie is not a bad thing. It actually contributes to the story and the character as Logan, the Clint Eastwood cowboy type, carves his way to a difficult victory. In some ways it is like watching an old Western movie like The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, or a Chinese Kung-Fu film like The Blood of the Dragon where the hero doesn’t even fall down to die. Which in some ways kind of makes it a guy movie, but just about any X-Men fan, or action movie fan and sit and enjoy it. In fact it’s kind of nice that heralds back to that old action movie feel. The tone is both modern and nostalgic for those who have always loved action movies.

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed it.

Carrie Fisher, Our Princess

Carrie Fisher has always been an interesting character. An actress and a prolific writer, people know her best as Princess Leia from the original Star Wars trilogy. Her Hollywood story began well before this though. The daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher, there was probably no doubt that she would get into show business herself at some point. One of the first roles of her young career was in the film Shampoo, with Warren Beatty. This was in 1975, in 1977, she would be offered the role of Princess Leia in the movie Star Wars.

Carrie Fisher has always been honest about the hard times she has had throughout her life and her career. Once she referred to herself not as a damsel in distress, but a distressing damsel. She struggled with mental health issues and drug addiction throughout her life, but always managed to overcome somehow, though being able to acknowledge and, despite stubbornness, ask for help (asking for help can be difficult. I know from personal experience). She has found a new voice through several avenues, whether it be advocacy, writing, or acting, she always seemed to do things with a certain honesty and no small amount of truthfulness. Her book, Postcards from the Edge, became a movie starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacClaine. It’s a great read as are many of her other books.

Princess Leia is one of the greatest characters ever to grace the screen. This is primarily because of the fact that she represented what a strong female character should be. Not over sexualized, independent, strong, feisty. A woman who could stand shoulder to shoulder with men, even if it was to call them a stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking Nerf-herders. She was a role model for girls and young women, when there were not many strong female characters being presented on the screen. She was certainly a role model to me, and shall continue to be so.

I will always appreciate the character of Princess Leia, and the wonderful actress who brought her to life. Carrie Fisher shall be sorely missed by fan and peer alike. Thank you.

 

A Humble Request for a Harry Potter Massively Multi-Player Online Role Playing Game

Dear J.K. Rowling and Warner Brothers Entertainment,

Harry Potter, the famous story of The Boy Who Lived. The Boy Who Lived through numerous trials and deadly encounters with giant serpents, flying cars, Whomping Willows, Dementors, fire breathing dragons, Death Eaters and a terrible dark lord known to his world as He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, but also by his own terrible name, Voldemort. And along the way, he picked up faithful friends, surrogate family, and people who would always support him, despite the difficulty supporting him might bring. One must admit though, that the people who have been the most loyal to him over the years have been the readers and viewers of his adventures. They are his ever present supporters, and have followed him from book to film to game, to play.

However, there is a demographic of his most loyal fan who feel a bit shortchanged. Gamers. Pottermore was something that gamers hoped would be an online game, however it has, for a long time, been described as “a reading experience”. Gamers do not want a reading experience. They want to interact with a tangible, visual experience in a world that can be fully explored. Also, not everyone can afford to go to a theme park, and even the theme park offers a minuscule glance at the world of Harry Potter.

That is also the issue with the games that are already out there. They are direct movie tie-ins, and only show the tiniest glimpse of a much larger world. Also they do not offer a lot of interaction with the environment, or other players. Gamers are social people, explorers, and they love to be able to explore every corner of a world that is possible. They like to go out with friends, and help each other toward goals in quests. They like to chat and engage with  world economics and creation. Also, a little PVP competition never hurt anyone.

Also, when one makes an MMO of an already existing world, they delve into the lore of that world in order to make it as real as possible for the player. I always tell people that if they really want to go to Middle Earth, they should play “The Lord of the Rings Online” (A game from Standing Stone games). They have made that world so beautiful and so believable that it has become my only Middle Earth. I can go places, like The Shire, The Lone-Lands, Rivendell, LothLorien, Moria, Rohan, Isengard and now Gondor and even Mordor. I can interact with characters from that world. In fact, recently I ran into some old friends!!

 

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And there are some other interesting people I have run into recently as well, like this guy:

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And of course, this guy:

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And I took a screenshot of this place because it was so pretty!!

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This is the kind of thing we would want with a Harry Potter MMORPG. A full world experience where we can play with our friends, interact with cool people from the universe, and engage, as gamers, with the storyline. This kind of gaming experience is not like the single player experience we have had in the past. It is more inclusive, social, interactive, and fun in general. Also, consider the fact that even before it comes out, it will be a hit. Because there is the built in Harry Potter audience, gamers who play for the sake of playing, competitive gamers, casual gamers, and people who just want to see what it’s all about!! I can tell you, this Ravenclaw wants to do just that!!

Also, considering that it is a game set in the Harry Potter universe, the highest rating you will probably get on an MMO like this is “T” for “Teen”. LOTRO has one of the nicest communities on the web. And I am sure if Warner Brothers Games develops this game, and does as good a job on it, a similar community will probably mosey on over to play. I know this is a tough step, but for all the people who want a more interactive Harry Potter experience, and can’t afford to go to a theme park and have worn out their books and DVDs, this is a great and wonderful thing. Gamers will thank you for it, as will the casual gamer and the Harry Potter fan!!

Thank you so much for reading this, I greatly appreciate it!! I will now ask my followers, friends, and the fans to help me out on this. Using this hashtag, politely ask for what we want. #IWantAHarryPotterMMORPG and maybe we can make this happen. Remember to ask politely, for there is no place for aggression here and we are asking a favor.Thank you all. I hope that some day I can be sorted into Ravenclaw, and take care of magic creatures with Hagrid while working on creating potions and transfiguring bugs into earrings, but eventually letting them go, because they’re doing me a favor!! Thank you!!

Sincerely,

Shara M.

 

The Value of Fan Fiction, Fan Art, Fan Videos and Costumes

 

 

Hello all. Thought I would go ahead and post something because it is one of those things I am interested in.  It is often said by some that “fan projects” are not worth the time or effort. This is not true at all. “Fan projects” are more pivotal now than they ever have been. Why do I say this? Because engaging in fan activities such as writing fan fiction, doing fan videos and creating fan art are fostering the next generation of artists. Basically what I am saying is that, with these projects comes knowledge, practice in the art that you want to be involved in, and experience.

Lets start with fan fiction. Many authors will say that this is not the kind of thing that “real” writers engage in. That is not true. Even writers and film makers that are well respected have dabbled in borrowing, fan fiction and “ripping off”. Take Suzanne Collins who wrote “The Hunger Games”. It is quite clearly based, in some form off of the film “Battle Royale”, A Japanese film about a group of Japanese students who are forced to fight to the death in a contest where only one is meant to come out alive.

Then again, “Battle Royale” is much more interesting and amusing, because it is not a film made to be considered as “overly serious film”, it is a film that caters to the interest of many audiences, action fans, Japanese film fan, people who like the irony and strong social messages put forward by the film. But basically it is an “it is what it is film, and if you try to make it something more, you’ll merely disappoint yourself”. The Hunger Games” caters to it’s built in audience, and is therefore full of teen angst and characters that one only finds interesting if they are into that sort of movie. There’s nothing wrong with the films. For me, they are just not as entertaining as a film like “Battle Royale”. But still, it cannot be denied that the premise is basically the same and one is simply more entertaining that the other.

Let’s take a moment to look at “Star Wars” and George Lucas. George Lucas’s earliest movie was “THX1138”, a dystopian film about a very controlled society. Here we actually have Lucas who has borrowed from George Orwell, who’s books (that later became films) are basically the same story. People living in a controlled society. Then when it came time for “Star Wars”, George Lucas, who was a great fan of Akira Kurosawa, basically took the plot of Kurosawa’a film “The Hidden Fortress” and set it in space. The George Lucas ripped himself off and Created “Willow” which is the same story with little people and Val Kilmer. Then, as Honest Trailers pointed out, J.J. Abrams basically recycled the plot, except this time around, Luke was a young woman who didn’t whine or complain as much. And in fact, you could say that Collins ripped off both Lucas and Orwell…Haha…

Even a smutty book like “Fifty Shades of Grey” was borrowed from the plot of “Twilight”, which I have always found amusing. Anne Rice took the plot of “Sleeping Beauty” and filled it with smut. Also borrowing from other people is what remakes are, adaptations are, they are also why Marvel keeps regurgitating it’s superhero franchises.

So here’s the thing. If these people are allowed to borrow, adapt, rip off and do all these other sorts of things, why can’t we fans do so? Some writers will say that, “ah, fan fiction. That is no good because you’re just taking someone else’s story and doing things with it.” Well yeah! That’s what art is all about. Copying and borrowing from the masters in order to gain competence. Even Da Vinci and Michelangelo started, probably from copying some of their art, or borrowing it from the person that they learned from. Everyone learns something. The difference is how quickly you can pick it up.

Also they say, “oh you don’t get good feedback on fan fiction”. Not true at all. If you are a good writer, people will know it and know how to respond to your writing, regardless of what it is based off of. There is a difference in writing styles and motives in fan fiction. One is for the writer who someday wants to write. The other is for people who use it for some kind of odd wish fulfillment, which shouldn’t be in the same caliber. However, I have gotten a lot of good feedback from writing fan fics. People seem to like what I write and know what kind of writer I am, and therefore, they ask questions, point out plot holes, make comments on my having too much exposition, all kinds of useful comments. So one cannot claim that they do not get good feed back. If you are a good writer who is working to morph a good narrative, readers will know it.

Some fan videos are wonderful, and I enjoy watching them. They can be funny, touching, interesting visually, and just plain emotional. So here the thing. What you are looking at are the writers, comedians, film editors, and producers/directors of the future. If you can make a good fan video that people like, then chances are you want to work in film. The fact that you are working with someone elses content, just as long as you make it clear that you are playing with someone elses baby, and you’re not slapping your name on it saying, “this is mine”, I don’t see a problem with it. When I edit photos, people know they are not mine. Nor do I claim them as mine. They belong to someone else, and I try to make that as clear as possible when I give credits to people. So we should not demonize people for stealing when all they are doing is borrowing. If they have the footage, chances are they own the original, and most people still like to buy the DVD. Personally I don’t like downloads of anything, whether it’s film or music or game content. I want something I can hold, that is mine. So I still buy DVDs and things. I love things like commentary and interviews and extras, so I buy the damn movie! It isn’t mine. I claim nothing because I cannot. All I do is what most other artists do is borrow and take what I can from a given plot and work with it. Here are a couple of videos from Sweetladybat that I just love.

Fan art is also a very useful teaching tool. Again, learning from the masters. Also fan costumes. If you go to conventions, you will see thousands of costumes that people have worked numerous hours on, sometimes just to wear to one event. What you have here is artists in the making and future costume designers. You may have the next Edith Head amongst their numbers. Or even a Donatella Versace is you think about it. why would the film industry and fashion industry not take advantage of these people and their art?

There are so many fandoms out there, and there are so many people who want to be a part of them. And if you do not foster the talent of the next Shakespeare, or the next Da Vinci, or the next Edith Head, the industry will be missing out on some great and awesome talent.

Thank you for reading, I greatly appreciate it!! Shara