Who should play the current president?

Let’s get this straight, Denzel Washington looks nothing like Barrack Obama. Ok, he may look more like Obama than Drew Barrymore does, but the resemblance is limited.

But once their mouths start moving, Obama and Washington resemble each other almost perfectly.

Remember Philadelphia? The way Washington spewed a lot of hot air, but got you thinking that you agreed with whatever he was saying? Even though you didn’t know what he was saying?

I mean, come on, they wanted a young partner to take over the firm when they retired. Tom Hanks’ character was going to die of Aids, so he’d probably die before the old jerks would retire. Sure, his employers weren’t the nicest guys, but what was he really suing them for?

And just to prove that Hank’s character was wrong to sue, the filmmaker shows him on his death bed with all these supportive people around him.

Yeah, the story was weird, and the average viewer had no idea what was going on, but you liked the people anyway.

And I have no idea what Obama stands for, but I like him anyway. Don’t ask me why, I just think he’s a great guy. A family man, a diplomat, and a smile that would disarm a soup tyrant. And boy, can he talk.

But yeah, just like Malcolm X, he doesn’t seem to do that much else. He talks, but nothing seems to happen as a result. Maybe he’s just unlucky.

Take for example his key line in his talk to the Chinese leadership: “We want to sell you lots of stuff.” Great line. But does it really help get us out of the recession?

Many actors can sit around doing nothing, and babble on and go nowhere with it. Many actors have oodles of charisma, and are so adorable you could just knit them a sweater.

However, no other living actor can come close to Obama’s ability to talk. Washington is the current master of the monologue, a forceful speaker who every screenwriter dreams of hearing his lines read by.

So yeah, if I was commissioned to make a film about Barrack Obama, the first actor I’d try to get was Denzel Washington. Nobody else in Hollywood could do the job half as well.

– Vasco de Sousa

Does Freedom of Speech only apply to US citizens?

If I understand Yahoo news correctly, a British teenager has been banned from going to the US.  His crime?  He doesn’t like the American president. (more here)

Well, I’m an American citizen.  I’m proud of our constitution.  I don’t like hearing foreigners insulting my President.  So, what’s my view on this kid?

Continue reading Does Freedom of Speech only apply to US citizens?

How is character related to plot?

Character and plot are two different words.  So why do so many self-proclaimed experts say that “character is plot”?  (Are they just copying F. Scott Fitzgerald? Or do they have a point?)

The extreme film where character “is” plot is The Muppets Christmas Carol.  (this post contains spoilers.)

Continue reading How is character related to plot?

Are you a street artist on the Internet Superhighway?

Remember that “professional” photographer who took a polaroid of you on the beach without asking? Then he had the nerve to ask you for five bucks (when the dollar was the international currency)?

Well, today he’s been replaced by the MySpace musician who has emailed you a link to his song. You listen to it, and find a little box asking for a five pound donation.

Personally, I’d rather drop a coin at some guy playing live music in the subway, or drawing a charicature of me in Paris.

I’m sure the tax man disagrees. It’s much easier to freeze a Youtube filmmaker’s PayPal account than it is to follow around some fire breather with an open guitar case. But really, most of these artists don’t make enough to pay taxes, do they?

Unfortunately, graffiti is still around (and terrible graffiti at that). We still see panhandlers and con artists (online and off). But whatever happened to the big city “honest beggar”? Where is the street artist now?

Am I a dinosaur here? Has the Internet destroyed the street artist?

Why is there so much bad career advice on the Internet?

There’s an old saying that “if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys”.

Most “free” resume advice exists to make you feel like you can’t write one yourself. That attitude sells the resume writer’s services.

Good advice can also be used as a sales pitch for more good advice, but in that case it can be incomplete. And incomplete advice may be misunderstood.

Other people give bad advice with more sinister motives. They may want you to fail or at least are trying to intimidate you. This kind of advice may come from people insecure in their own careers.

Now, there are good advisors out there. More about them later.

First, let’s get to the third and most common source of bad advice, a group of poor advisors that may actually want you to succeed. I’ve been part of this group in the past. They just don’t know what they’re talking about.

Some of these people may be answering a question because they know a lot of people want the answer. Others may be working to some kind of quota, attempting to blog something every day.

Too many people are afraid to say “I don’t know” or to just avoid topics they don’t know. They either repeat something they’ve heard before, or they make something up.

Unfortunately, even people with experience can fall into this category. Not everyone knows how they succeeded, or what worked and what didn’t. And even if they do, how can you be sure that what they did is right for you?

I learned this secret while reading a book about golf. Yes, a screenwriter learned one of life’s greatest lessons in a book which had nothing at all to do with screenwriting.

The book spoke of golf magazines giving bad advice to beginning golfers. You see, there are two wrong ways to hit a golf club. You can … or you can slice. Most beginners… but most professional golfers will slice. And these articles are written with professional golfers in mind.

So, the advice they give in these magazines involves compensating for a slice, which will result in hitting the ball more like a …. This may be good advice for the majority of professional golfers, but it is bad advice for beginners.

People give the same kind of bad career advice (or screenwriting advice, or even blogging advice). Advisors can tell you to do the opposite of what you need to do because it is what they need to do. Alternatively, it may be what they should have done when they were younger, or even what their friends and children need to do.

Finally, they may just have hang ups or pet peves. Some people are more sensitive to certain things than others. A career advisor may dislike blue ties or be irritated by certain words due to personal taste.

So how do you know what advice to take? Good question. Let me know if you find the answer.

Generally though, the better someone knows you, the better advice they can give. The aim should always be finding the happy medium between the slice and the ….

Ask yourself a few questions. Are you too loud or too quiet? Do you speak too quickly or too slowly? Do you spend too much time networking or too little time networking?

A good advisor will ignore his or her own pet peves and look at you as an individual.

And remember, not only does your advisor not know you as you know yourself, but your advisor may not know your employer or your target market as well as you know them either.

Maybe you’re doing everything correctly and you just need the patience to wait for all your hard work to pay off.

Alvin and the Chipmunks, the Squeakquel

The only thing worse than a movie based on a tv show is a sequel to a movie based on a tv show.    It’s doomed to have bad jokes, endless references… wait a minute, this one was actually fun to watch!

“My favourite part is when Alvin was on a mini motorbike when he was trying to save the Chippets from Ian. Alvin got the Chippets and Ian stole this Toy helicopter and a remote control to control it from a toy shop. Then Ian was controlling the toy and Alvin and the Chippets got onto the toy helicopter and the Chippets and Alvin threw their helmets on Ian and he let go of the remote control. One of the Chippets caught it and Ian was on the floor on his back and the motorbike that Alvin and the Chippets were on was still moving on its own and it was going to Ian and it hit his willy.”
-boy aged ten

“My favourite parts are when Alvin gives wedgies to the naughty boys, and when Alvin and Simon beat up the naughty boys.”
-boy aged eight