Updated Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Monday, October 31, 2011

All Hallow's Eve

If you're anything like me, you love a good scare.

So, for this Halloween, I'd like to share with you some of my favourite scary short films.

Enjoy! (And stay safe!)
Brandon

There Are Monsters




Deus Irae




The Closet




In A Corner - (From the creator of Ju-On before there was a Ju-On)





Bedfellows




8 Butterflies

8 BUTTERFLIES from Comatose / Nick Narciso on Vimeo.
 
And this one, well, it's not too scary, but it's still pretty darned cool:

The Facts In The Case Of Mister Hollow

Friday, October 28, 2011

In the Dark

Okay, so what've we learned so far?

It's really, really hard to write when there's a baby crying right behind you.

Well, yes, that too. What else?

A teething infant causes a significant number of sleepless nights over the week which all culminate into several, unexpected moments of visual and auditory hallucination.

Seriously, I heard someone call my name at work today -- long after everyone had gone home for the day... weeeird.

Especially weird 'cause I heard it clear as day but didn't recognize the voice. Also, those brief moments of movement out of the corner of my eye. Like shadows flitting about, doing shadowy things.

Yeah, fun!

On the bright side, we've started feel the uneven ridges of young, sharp teeth poking up, barely restrained by gum-line. Our son is displeased with this development, and, looking at it from his perspective, I can't really blame him.

You see, outside of all the wonderful joys of having your mouth and jawline ravaged by the onset of razor-sharp baby-teeth, one of the other side effects is a little something called 'Night Terrors'.

Now, being a Storyteller (one that started off with a strong Horror bent) I'm well acquainted with the concept of what a 'Night Terror' is. It's like an ultra-intense nightmare, one that you can't wake up from.

It's a classic theme and hundreds of wonderful horror stories have come from this simple concept -- this inescapable nightmare.

Yes, it's all well and good on paper.

And then you see the real deal. Face to face.

You witness your formerly-placid child, this little roly-poly half-pint, jolt upright in their crib, screaming like they're being murdered.

Now, you've heard them cry before. Sure. You've even heard them cry when they've hurt themselves, gotten a little boo-boo.

But nothing prepares you for this... sound. A shriek is the only true way to describe it.  You realize that it's more than just a scream, this child is afraid for their very life.

From zero to 'HOLYSHITWHATTHEFUCK!?' this kid is flipping out, flailing, crying, hitting. Whatever's in there, your child is fighting it tooth and nail.

I'd never seen a baby fight for its life before this last week, but my God if it isn't the scariest goddamned thing I've ever witnessed.

Even worse, you jump out of bed, scoop the little one in your arms, hug and hold and whisper and sing and dance and pat and kiss and... they're not there with you. Wherever they are, they're lost in the mist, trapped in a battle that rages on without you.

My son looked at me a few days ago, in the midst of a full-blown night-terror; his eyes wide open but seeing through me... and whatever he saw scared the utter shit out of him. He flailed like he'd been caught, like the slavering jaws were moments from closing 'round his head.

For a moment I truly believed that I was the enemy.

That somewhere, somehow, someway, I'd done something wrong, unleashed some unknown... thing... upon him. I racked my brain: he's a baby, he's never seen anything more menacing than a red plastic spoon, what the hell could be tormenting him so fiercely?

Still I held him, rocking him, calling to him, patting him; wondering how the battle was going, if the clashing of steel would come out in his favour.

And, slowly, he came back to us. Slipping back to silence as if he'd never been bothered, sliding a thumb back into his mouth, sucking away as his head lolled and my heart thudded in my chest.

We laid him beside us then, as if somehow, my wife and I could offer some sort of protection; some bastion from his dream usurpers.

I'd like to say that it never happened again, that we haven't had to undertake this battle over and over again, a few times a night for the last week or so... but, alas, that's not the case.

Though we've gotten better at it, steeled our hearts against it, when we sleep now we wait for that sound; that... shriek.

And when it comes, we're there, laying beside him; helplessly watching as this formless foe wreaks havoc on our little one. Helpless but to watch and soothe and cuddle the transition from wounded to whimper to whisper.

He's sleeping now, finally, my little guy. But even now I feel my pulse racing, waiting for the attack to come. Remembering those vacant eyes as they stared through me to that unseen beast.

Here, by his side, I wait.

And in the darkness, I know horror.

Sleep well, my friends.
Brandon

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Storming The Brain

Okay, so, brainstorming. A timeless, classic way to flesh out a story idea or concept.

So, what's on the docket for today? What problem am I trying to crack here? (The first task in any brainstorming session: what am I trying to accomplish?)

What do I need to do?

The Doctor
Amy Pond
Rory

What happens in my story?

Broad strokes here, beats... anything goes, may or may not be used, just run with it. NOTE: Below contains the final form of several passes all in one (ideas/critiques/expansions).

- An attack - obviously
- Someone lost - duh
- betrayal?
- a new friend
- hunters - a mob...?
- a showdown (too Western?) -- Genre imitation/homage?
- rebels -- too much?
- a sound defeat -- a retreat -- loss of someone/thing close...!
- a plan -- 'cause there's always a plan
- a bowtie -- 'cause bowties are cool
- Aliens? -- a mothership? No, too big. Alien tech. Sure. -- An alien prison. -- A forgotten alien prison.
- an escape -- can't have a prison without an escape.
- wardens? -- too much. Forgotten, remember?
- a sense of loss -- too intense for a spec? Maybe keep it upbeat?
- Confrontation -- Doctor Vs. Dragon -- Sonic screwdriver... vs. Dragon Tech? -- Techno Dragon? -- Cyborg Dragon?!... Okay, breathe.
- Running -- Always running. Hell, it's right in the show intro ("And we've been running ever since").
- Some Action -- Fast-paced, low to the ground, fun but gritty.
- Something to Fear -- It's a freaking Dragon. A Big, freaking, alien, angry Dragon. -- Death-Ray eyes?? Oooh...
- A Death -- of course. Wouldn't be a Doctor Who without a death -- Dragon-bait. Like a terrestrial Jaws scene?
- Some sort of Compassion/Kindness -- Do we all make up and be best friends in the end? -- Ethical/Moral problem? Do we go too far? -- Humanity the real monster? -- Ask the Question! Nope, still the Dragon. Close second, tho'.
- An Amy Quest -- B story -- looking for distraction, looking to keep her mind off something bad -- takes to local kids? -- Maybe a kid named 'Harmony' or something music-based, to strike a chord? -- Drawn into something deeper, forced into a choice. This or that. No solid 'right' answer. She wishes with all her might it was an easy, solid, I-can-be-sure-of-this answer.
- A... Rory? -- Just happy to be there! Okay, no. -- Torn. Wants to help, not sure how. -- Dragons?! COOL! -- Lazer Death-Ray eyes, not cool! -- Who is he now?: The man who waited -- Feeling outside, she won't let him in -- she can't articulate it. Or won't. -- Why?
- The Doctor -- Wanting desperately to make everything right -- OR wanting desperately to pretend like nothing's wrong. -- That it can always be solved. He always finds the answer. He's the Doctor. -- Believing his own hype too much? -- Genuinely surprised by Dragon -- Very old -- Doesn't know much, if anything about it? Shooting from the hip (as it were)?
- The Dragon -- Freedom. Wanting out -- Angry -- Hungry -- Tired -- Alone -- Last of its kind? (Does/would it know this?) -- Sentient? How Sentient? (Dogs/Dolphins/People?) or unknowable? Thinks in entirely different way...? -- Brain in Tail? Multiple brains like Dinosaurs -- Dragon precursor/off-shoot of Dinosaurs? -- Space-faring Dinosaurs escaped Earth, return to it? (NOTE: new comic idea).
- The Locals -- Downtrodden, beaten -- Desperate -- Looking for an out, a win. -- Hungry. -- Not expecting to find a freaking Dragon in their backyard.
- A Grand Finale -- Collapsing Cave? -- Aquifer...? -- Dragon vs. TARDIS? (Dragon Breath? Dragon BITE?) -- Freedom or Death Sentence -- Not sure which one -- A Pyrrhic victory? (too downbeat?) -- TARDIS whoop-whoops off to the sunset...?

Hrmm...

Okay, so, yeah, if you made your way through that, you've just gotten a small glimpse into my mind as of late. Disjointed? Yeah, that's how things tend to roll... but I think I found a few interesting concepts to play with.

Maybe enough to even take an early stab at a beat sheet!

Yeah... maybe.

Anyways, that's all for now, folks! See you on Friday.

Cheers,
Brandon

Monday, October 24, 2011

And We're Back

Hey folks!

So, yeah, Friday ended up being a wash - from being swamped at work to actually managing to get out to my first 'Band Practice' in about 8 months, I ended up stumbling home around the midnight mark.

It was a fantastic time out there, seeing some friends, catching up with the world at large (a quick shout-out to Ryan, Chris and Nat, some real-life, bona-fide readers of the blog -- hey folks!).

Now that all that free tequila has worn off (thanks Karen!) I'm back in the saddle and starting to get a better idea of where I'm heading.

In case you didn't know, 'Band Practice' is Inkcanada's monthly meetup of Toronto-ish Writers, Producers, Directors and more to get together and just be social. It's a great way to meet (and have a beer with) people you may, one day, be working with.

Anyways, one of the great things I experienced at last Friday's 'Band Practice' was actually the reaction I got when started telling people about the Doctor Who spec script I was working on.

See, sometimes you just know you're onto a good idea... and sometimes that idea is reinforced in the most simple and casual of ways.

So there I am, being introduced to some fellow writers, shaking hands and such when the conversation pops up to 'So, what are you working on?'. We all chat a bit about what we're up to, then it turns to (as it usually does) what we're all speccing at the moment. A Castle here, a Community there, possibly a Justified, maybe a Good Wife; we all nod in agreement that they're solid choices. And then they look at me and I say 'Doctor Who'.

I haven't seen so many eyes light up so fast in one conversation before. (Incidentally, I was also surprised that so many knew of the show). Now, yes, please let me apologize ahead of time if I come off as sounding smug here, but these are the rare moments that every writer secretly wishes for: to come up with something that's genuinely interesting.

And that's what appears to have happened because, off the top I had a flurry of questions - (and yes, 'why?' was one of them) - but one thing I noticed (especially after I sold it as 'Doctor Who fights a Dragon') was how many people started smiling. Like ear-to-ear grins.

A small thing, but it was plain to see. People were interested, they wanted to hear more.

Yes folks, a good high-concept idea is hard to come by -- but when you find one that works... celebrate.

Of course, now I have to go out there and live up to that idea. I've gotta write a script that's going to be 'kick-in-the-pants' awesome.

But, for now, it feels good to feel reinforced in my decision; to know that I'm onto something here.

Wednesday is brainstorm day - we'll start to get a look at what all could possibly go (and go wrong) in such a script.

Until then,

Cheers!
Brandon

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Side Quest

These last few days I've been working on some other projects that have been needing attention.

My web series, tentatively titled 'Undy1ng' (which, yes, will probably end up needing a new title), has hit it's stride in an impressive way. Our new Director has come out swinging with a wicked, wicked set of notes that've made us all go 'wow'. Needless to say, we're knee-deep in re-writing and making it a stronger, faster, leaner, meaner machine. So far it's coming along quite well, we're about half-done our re-write, so, with a bit of luck, that'll be moving forward in the near-ish future.

In other news, I've been hard at work on nailing the pitch bible for 'Pipeline' -- I've got some great advance notes from Chris and they've been pushing me to dig deeper, answer some questions that I didn't even realize that I'd missed. (Ahh, the joys of an external perspective!)

Other than that, I've been utterly enthralled by what's been going on in the news... just devouring every little tidbit I can about our (as in the World's) financial crisis. I'm not entirely sure just yet how the heck I'm gonna pull this off, but I've gotten a couple really strong ideas for stories. One might be a film, one is (at the very least) a mini-series. I've been jotting some notes down as they come to me, but I'm pretty psyched. Maybe it's something worth exploring once I get Pipeline locked down.

Until then, all I can do is write as much as I can and save it with all the other cool ideas I've gotten over the last while. (Ugh, all the ideas in the world right now, no time to follow up on most of them...)

Anyways, more scriptwriting stuff to come this Friday.

Until then,

Cheers!
Brandon

Monday, October 17, 2011

Freeze Frame

So, two episodes down, one left to go to get a good idea of the show itself, how it flows, if there are any patterns that emerge, etc.

But what comes afterwards?

I mean, yeah you've got Research. But then what?

Brainstorming, mostly.

I've already broached this subject -- sort of hopped around the list -- when I came up with my title ahead of time.

'The Dragons Of Iowa'

Which, of course, well, leads to the question: What would be the number one thing that has to happen to The Doctor in an episode called 'The Dragons of Iowa'?

Yes, we're going to have the Doctor face down a Dragon.

Pretty straight forward, really. Makes a lot of sense. You get what you pay for and it's labeled right on the box.

Of course, this Dragon will be an Alien, and will have been stuck in a primordial/technological prison for the last half-million years or so.

But yeah, the iconic image I have in my mind is that of the Doctor, sonic screwdriver pointed up at the giant, green, scaly thing looming over him, wings spread -- possibly about to douse him in flame.

Not sure how on-the-nose I'll go with the whole 'dragon' thing, but that image has me stoked for a whole host of other moments I want to bring alive.

You know, I often hear a lot of new writers asking 'what books should I read to get better at writing for TV?' and there really is a fantastic crop out there.

But, in my opinion, one of the best books ever written about writing for a visual medium has got to be 'Understanding Comics' by Scott McCloud.

I'm not sure if it's just because of the way I write, or how I view the world but for me, when I can see that one, still image in my mind; when I can see the entirety of my story summed up in one frozen frame... that's when I know I'm ready.

The book is fantastic because it helps you to learn to think visually.

In Comics it's all about trying to tell a compelling tale with no moving parts. Saying the most you possibly can with that one perfect image and a tiny bit of text.

It's a way of thinking about my work and my stories that I've been trying to perfect over the years. It's not always easy (and frequently frustrating) but when you nail it... it really, really nails it down.

In a Battlestar Galactica spec that I did, one called 'Reign', the image I had in my mind was that of Adama standing there, alone, quietly staring at the ghosts of all the people who had died under his command.

You see, one of the things that always bugged me about the show was that for all the things we learned about Adama over the years, I felt like we never got a chance to get inside his head.

I mean, how does a man who has survived as much as he has, has seen as much death and destruction as he has, manage to cope? Hell, how does he get out of bed in the morning?

That image, of him, alone in CIC, surrounded by the quiet stares of the dead was haunting to me. And it inspired me to write that whole script.

And that's what it's all about, really: Inspiration.

When I think about TV - this wonderful bastard child of Film and Radio - and the tales I want to tell, the very first thing I always try to do is find that image. That one frozen moment that encapsulates the entirely of my excitement for the project.

Furthermore, when I start to write without having found that image, I find that my work is also, well, listless. Lacking direction. Mediocre (or worse).

It's something to refer to, something to keep you on track, something to strive for.

Once you find that, the first part, the hardest part, is done. You're officially into your story. You build around it.

Then it's: What leads to that moment? What happens after that moment?

And, hopefully, you're so freaking excited about finding that one moment that you find another, and then another. Until, hopefully, your script is chock-full of awesome moments.

But I digress.

For now, I'm going to break down one more episode. Then I'm going to try and beat out a story. Then, if that works out, I'll try an outline... or two or three.

One step at a time, tho'. One step at a time.

G'night folks! See you on Wednesday.

Cheers,
Brandon

Friday, October 14, 2011

6x12 - Closing Time Blues

Okay, so... yeah. This episode hasn't exactly been my favourite and, for a good while now I couldn't put my finger on exactly why that was.

For the last few days I thought that maybe they'd gone and used some other sort of structure for this episode (a 4-Act structure, perhaps) but the closer I looked, the more I realized that that didn't fit.

So I started digging deeper into the episode, charting it out, trying to figure out what was bugging me. And, really, so far as I can tell, there are two things that bother me.

1) The climax of the story is incredibly compressed. The last 3 minutes of the episode have nothing at all to do with the story that's just been told and only serve to set up the season finale. I know, 3 minutes doesn't sound like a whole lot, but considering how quickly (and forced) the climax of the story plays out -- with Craig being captured and turned by the Cybermen and then defeating them all in a matter of seconds... I don't know -- the more I watch this episode (I've seen it like 5 times now) the more I get the feeling like they intentionally pushed past the climax and hung a lantern on how silly the whole thing was (Craig says 'I killed them with love'... ugh).

2) The story feels uneven. Essentially this episode is 'two men and a baby... and some Cybermen' but because the Doctor is on this dark tilt of his (believing that he's a crazy old man who gets his friends killed) it messes with all the light-hearted fun that they've put together off the top.

The very beginning of the episode is right proper dark and spooky... if not a tad silly -- flickering lights belie the creepy-looking Cybermen hiding in fitting rooms and snatching shopworkers away (to be converted, no doubt). This dark bit of an intro ends up leading into some great, comedic scenes when Craig and the Doctor play off of Craig's newfound fatherhood fears.

Yet the episode never seems to decide what it wants to be; a problem that truly comes to the surface as the episode wears on, as they get deeper into their investigation and things start to get dark -- too dark, apparently, because just as the big climax hits, it's like they stomp on the fast forward button. Not only do they gloss over the significance of Craig being turned -- or that that means for the Doctor (yet another failure, another friend lost) -- but they rush through any sense of true danger. One minute it's 'Oh no, Craig's been turned' and then, almost a minute later Cybermen heads are exploding, people are running and explosions are happening. It's like they tried very hard to keep it light-hearted and then realized there wasn't a happy-go-lucky way out of this one so they stomped on the accelerator and hoped no one would notice.

(Or they really wanted that 3 minutes for River at the end and so chopped away whatever used to be there...)

Structurally this is a weird episode as well, pretty much the whole first half of the episode is dominated by A story (setup for the Doctor and the Cybermen) and then the last half of the episode is mostly B story with the Craig realizing he's a great dad after all/defeating the Cybermen, etc.

I had a lot of trouble trying to find the structural nodes of this episode, trying to get a sense of where the natural 'outs' would be. Because this was a slower-paced episode it was significantly harder but I think I managed to figure it out.

Teaser - Out at 3:12 - Shona pulls back the curtain revealing a dirty/scary-looking Cyberman leering back at her. She screams.

Act One - Out at or around 11:46 (possibly earlier) - The Doctor and Craig have just had their first brief encounter with the Cybermen and escaped by the skin of their teeth. Outside the Doctor reveals what they're up against and that they were just on a Cyberman mothership. Craig has a moment of wonder and excitement and exclaims 'I was in outer space!'. - Now, not the strongest of outs, but a natural pause in the story when considering what happens next (they regroup and start to search in earnest for the 'silver rat'). Personally, I think it would've been a quick structural change to have the reveal of the Cyberman coming at them and then cut to an act out (and then they escape) but, hey, that's just my two cents.

Act Two - Out at 21:14 - This is a definitive Act out. The Doctor and Craig are on the trail of a Cybermat and they hear a scream in the distance. The Doctor goes running off after it, gets knocked unconscious by a Cyberman. Out on the Cyberman looking down on The Doctor as he goes out. Heck it even cuts to black.

Act Three - Out at 28:42-ish - This is a 'calm-before-the-storm' Act Out as far as I can tell. They've just managed to kill a Cybermat, the Doctor reprograms the thing into something that can help him fight the Cybermen. He starts to talk to Craig, starts to tell him about the true nature of his fate, that he is to die tomorrow, but turns to see that Craig is asleep. Caring but resigned, he tucks them in with a blanket. As I type this, I'm realizing that the stronger out from this would actually be the next scene which shows the next morning and the Doctor sneaking out on his own to fight the Cybermen by himself. Coming back from the break would show Craig waking up and realizing that the Doctor's gone, sending him into a panic and chasing after him.

Act Four - Out at 34:20 - This would also be a pretty strong Act out if it weren't so darned rushed. The Doctor watches, helplessly, as the captured Craig is forced into the Cyberman conversion unit and the helmet of the Cybermen is welded shut around his head. A fantastic image, a great emotional punch to the gut... but it never gets its chance to really hit home. A minute or two later Craig is free and on the run with the Cybermen exploding from his 'emotional overload'. *sad face*

Act Five - Out at 41:24 or 44:10 - The Doctor's story actually comes to a (unsatisfactory) close at 41:24 as he tells a bunch of dumbfounded kids that he's saved all their lives countless times... then says 'you're welcome'. The episode ends with River underwater after being drugged and forced into an astronaut's suit, moments before coming out of the water and killing the Doctor (as we saw in the first episode).

Anyways, that brings me to a close on 6x12-Closing Time. I'm not sure how much of this will actually help me going forward, but if nothing else, I think I have gotten a touch better and digging into these episodes. This one frustrated me to no end... but, I dunno... I guess I'll have to take a stab at another episode to see if this is an anomaly or something more prevalent with this Series.

Not sure which episode yet, but I am open to suggestions.

Cheers!
Brandon

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Okay, so...

I've been staring at this spreadsheet off and on all day and, I don't know, somehow it's like trying to decipher another language.

Sometimes the easiest way to figure things out is to talk them out. Sooo... yeah, here's what I'm putting together.

[Spoilers]

The First Story I've pulled out of this is:

The Doctor pays a social visit to Craig -- one last visit before he goes to Lake Silencio to die -- starts noticing weird things which leads him to notice that people have started going missing, which leads him to discovering the Cybermen are behind it, which leads to him almost getting Craig and his infant son Alfie (aka Stormageddon aka 'Stormy') killed, leading to the Doctor feeling down on himself. The Doctor feels like he's been a negative force on people, that people die around him. Near the end of his investigation he ends up facing off against the Cybermen who capture Craig and try to convert him but thankfully (due to the love Craig has for Alfie) Craig resists the conversion and his overwhelming love causes all of the Cybermen's heads to explode (followed by their mothership). This inspires the Doctor to go onward, finally ready to face his fate.

The Second Story is:

Craig wants to prove he's capable of watching his son by himself. Secretly he's scared to death, he thinks he's a horrible father. It's made worse when the Doctor arrives and reveals that he can speak baby. Worse, his infant son -- who prefers the name 'Stormageddon: Dark Lord Of All' -- is full of criticisms (which doesn't help Craig's confidence). He gets caught up in the Doctor's web of intrigue and the danger finds its way into his own house where a 'Cybermat' (a large robot silverfish -- like the insect -- with vicious teeth) tries to kill him. The Doctor, despondent over this turn of events, thinks that he's a bad person. While trying to cheer him up, Craig falls asleep and awakens to find the Doctor gone, having left a note that he's gone to defeat the Cybermen on his own. Craig goes after the Doctor and ends up on the Cybermen ship, his plan to rescue the Doctor backfired as he ends up captured and thrown into the Cyberman conversion chamber. He hears his son crying and it spurs him onward to fight it, causing the Cybermen to explode from the ensuing surge of paternal love.

Meanwhile there's a weird little runner where everyone thinks that the Doctor and Craig are Gay lovers (including a bit where the Doctor tells Craig he loves him and almost kisses him).

Structure-wise, I'm still having a bit of a time in teasing out where the Act breaks would be -- and I'm not entirely sure how to reconcile the ending of the episode (which is entirely unrelated to the current story and is there entirely to foreshadow the Season Finale).

But progress is being made. As you can see, both stories end up dove-tailing at the end -- that said, I'm not entirely sure which one is the 'A' story.

Is it the Doctor's (because he's the lead) or is it Craig's (because he has the strongest emotional resolution of the episode)? I gotta admit, I'm kind of torn on this one.

Other than that here's an interesting little technical tidbit that I've discovered:

- The episode has a total of 72 scenes (without getting picky over the intercutting)
- Out of those 72 the Doctor is in 42 -- Craig, however, is in 43

Weird, huh?

Anyways, more of that sort of thing this Friday.

Have a great night!

Cheers,
Brandon

Monday, October 10, 2011

Woot! A Small Measure Of Success!

Okay, so, good news! I finally finished breaking down Doctor Who 6x12 - Closing Time.

I haven't had time to properly analyze this thing yet, but it's there, it exists.

And now that it's all done, I have to say that I'm feeling really 'meh' about the whole episode.

My preliminary findings here seem to show that this episode is a really odd duck. It's quite weirdly paced and seems to chew up a lot of time but doesn't actually do a whole lot.

Even though it's a very short episode (the total running time is 44:10 but the actual main episode ends at about 41 mins) the story itself still seems incredibly drawn out and thin.

There are some fantastic scenes with Craig and The Doctor, but ... yeah... the whole of it all is just so very forgettable. Worse: the Cybermen plot ends up feeling so tacked on -- even though it's properly set up off the top -- that the episode almost feels like the remnants of two different episodes mashed together.

Add in that weird sort of... tag... at the end that brings River and Madame Kovarian into the mix -- basically setting River up for the final episode -- and, yeah, I almost feel like it was a waste of time to break this one down. It doesn't feel like a regular episode this season.

Anyway, what's done is done. I'll be taking a closer look at it all on Wednesday, maybe there's something useful here that I'm just not seeing.

But yeah, feeling kind of disappointed right now.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Brandon

Friday, October 07, 2011

Some Good Ol' Light-hearted Fun

So I'm still trying to get this bloody second episode broken down - almost there, but not quite. (It's really hard to get more than 10 mins at any given time to sit down with this thing :S)

Anyways, while I'm off working hard on trying to put a nail in this for Monday, please enjoy a bit of good ol' Doctor Who humour.

Even if you're not a fan of the show, chances are you'll enjoy this -- it stars a certain someone, a Mr. Rowan Atkinson (aka Mr. Bean) playing a pivotal role.

Check it out!

Cheers!
Brandon

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs

Wow...

I don't even know what to say.

I've been trying to write this since I heard the news and nothing seems to fit, nothing seems... right.

Rare is it that a visionary actually manages to make their mark on the world, let alone change it in the way that Steve Jobs did. Through the iPod and iPhone and iPad he fundamentally changed how we interact with technology; moreso, how we interact with one another.

He took our tech and made it simpler, easier -- until we had no choice but to integrate it, to make it into a whole new kind of social construct. He took what used to be the realm of the few and made it 'just work'. Then he went and made it portable -- he made it simpler and portable and designed to bring us together, no matter where you were in the world.

Steve Jobs made technology sexy.

And frankly, he helped make Geeks cool the world over.

(for some of us, that is a debt that can never be repaid).

He was an always-busy, always-complicated man... who still managed to respond -- sometimes with savage honesty -- to personal emails from complete strangers. For all that things that can be said about the man, he held that door open. There was always a chance that you'd get a 1 AM response from Steve Jobs himself in that gruff, take-no-prisoners style. Sometimes a few words to your rambling paragraphs, sometimes more... but always honest and always sticking to his vision of how he wanted his technology to impact those around him.

Unlike so many who get their shot and falter, Steve Jobs knew how he wanted to change the world.



Rest In Peace, Mr. Jobs.

Monday, October 03, 2011

White Wedding

Well, that was quite a show, eh?

If you didn't happen to catch the season finale of Doctor Who (and care) please be aware that this post talks about that finale and is full of SPOILERS.

Just sayin', fair warning and all.

So in the end our Doctor not only managed to cheat death and fix the entire timestream, he also managed to pick himself up a nice, shiny new bride as well.

Of course we won't mention the fact that his would-be bride was the one who caused the near-destruction of the whole of time... (her own last-ditch attempt to try and save him from his fate).

What I will mention though is how much I've enjoyed this 6th series of the show. Sure, some things don't really hold up if you think about them too much (okay, most things) but one thing that Mr. Moffat does exceedingly well is make sure that the stories under his watch have a solid emotional punch.

I was having a chat with my friend Cameron today about this series of Doctor Who and one thing that came up was the concept of themes -- specifically that the main theme of the series was how the Doctor started to believe his own hype and how, in doing so, he scared a whole lot of people. People started to ask the question: has he become more 'warrior' than 'doctor'? He scared them enough that they kidnapped Amy's daughter and raised her into the perfect 'Doctor-killing' machine.

Doctor or Warrior? Interesting theme for a character who tends to solve problems rather than shoot things (and yet someone always seems to die when he shows up...).

And yet there was also this other re-curring theme, these undercurrents of Paternal love, specifically, of a father saving his son. This is most notable in the episodes 'Curse of the Black Pearl', 'Night Terrors' and 'Closing Time'. The final two episodes even seem to share the same final beats.

Cameron mentioned that, since we never actually see Amy and Rory 'mourn' the loss of their daughter, this theme could've been changed to 'parental' love and expanded upon to great effect in the season finale. I have to agree -- there's a strong sense of love and loss in this series and yet two of the main characters never seem to ever experience this for themselves, especially considering that they've had their first and only child ripped from their hands.

Anyways, I found 'The Wedding Of River Song' to be a fun series finale with some wonderful sparkly bits (and an ingenious little loophole to that whole 'having to die' thing)... yet I can't help but feel like they could've dug deeper. The Doctor's the star of the show, I know, but it also seems like some real potential with Amy and Rory was left behind this time. Every aspect of their relationship was explored except for this one major facet and, in light of that revelation, it seems like a huge miss.

That said, I can't wait to see what they do with the Christmas Special.

Cheers!
Brandon