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Recently I have found myself developing a new web show in my head. It’s another one of my long standing concepts that has been bubbling away for about five years. With the WC Project well underway now, I’m finding myself keen to get STS through the treatment phase.

It’s a bit of a challenge to take on a new show while you’re still working on a project – and I really want to make sure that I get STS roughly sketched out in my spare time. The WC Project’s scripts are now complete, and so from a writing perspective I have a little window of opportunity to start laying the foundations of STS before I have to get on to other WC issues.

But here is the problem.

STS is a comedy-drama set in pretty much real life. It focuses on a single character (partially autobiographical) and how he becomes involved with a large number of people in his search for meaning and love.

The problem is… and this is kind of embarrassing… names.

I’ve been trying to think up names for all the characters – and I’m drawing blanks. I had Sean McCarthy – but that sounds kind of naff. The main character needs to have a kind of iconic name, something that rolls off the tongue and when you hear it you will think of this show.

Like Ally McBeal, Mary Tyler, Chris Rock – those kind of names that no matter how quirky – they just stick in your head.

Then I need to flesh out all of the main character’s friends and family – again, names… but also personalities. I don’t want to just copy-paste people I know.

I want to be making a bit of a subtle statement with STS.

The WC Project is actually carefully developed to contain messages about identity and responsibility – nothing that is in your face or immediately obvious. Instead, if you stop and think about the situation, the characters, the creatures… there is an allegorical/metaphorical tale being told.

I want STS to have something similar – which means that the characters need to be carefully crafted to represent ideas while also still coming across as real people rather than obvious metaphors.

A difficult juggling act, I can tell you. With WC, I have no idea how much of my intended undertones were successfully subtle or even noticeable. STS is, in some ways, even more challenging from a writing perspective.

The thing is I also have two other show concepts that I want to explore as well… so it is proving to be a case of loads of starting points – but a challenge to get any of them fleshed out at the moment…

Anyhow… this week while I’m in Auckland, I’m hoping to develop STS a little further. One benefit of STS is that it would be considerably easier to shoot than WC. No visual effects. 😀

Conan

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The last couple of days I have been struck by an odd malady.

I’ve been reading a lot about various views on a variety of matters from roleplaying through to gang violence. These have started a train of thought in my head about how I feel about these issues and I begin to write a post or response.

Then I kind of freeze up. I delete my long, and often well-reasoned, responses and just move on. Why?

Well, it strikes me that many people like to argue for the sake of arguing. They succumb to the old technic of looking for flaws in reasoning without stopping to think about the intent and drive behind the case they are arguing against. I know this, because I do it on many an occasion as well – it’s an easy trap to fall into and one we were constantly warned about in Argumentation Theory.

See, as much as people hate to admit it, we do often act on intuition and instinct. A good argument will take that as a foundation, but then look for reason in their position and (hopefully) be open to the possibility that their intuition is wrong.

I just realise that I’m not feeling up to getting into actual long silly arguments anymore. When I was younger, I was ready to leap in with both feet and take on anyone I felt had made an fallacious argument – but these days… well I just get exhausted as I run through the variety of responses that I will likely receive and often talk myself out of getting involved in what soon seems like a fruitless exercise.

Take, for example, a long post I wrote about gang violence. The main points of the argument were that there is no real excuse for gang violence – the situations these people find themselves in can be overcome, but they need to be willing to stop. The other part was that violence is not part of human nature – which lead to my often argued position that humanity defines itself and thus has only itself to blame.

Now I had reasoned this out and had a fairly solid post when I realised that there will be several schools of response – the first is the classic middle-class apologist approach: “How can we really understand what it is like to be in that situation?” – the problem with this approach is that most NZers likely know someone with some degree of gang affiliation. I know that I have a couple of friends who have lived in gang neighbourhoods and grown up surrounded by gang life – and they have successfully turned their backs on it.

The next was taking on the human nature argument – which is a tougher cookie to crack. Not to forget the argument about the complexity of stopping gang violence – no point stopping hitting the other kid if he wont stop punching you.

It just seemed far to big a mess to take on. The same goes for a debate about how we should judge games – too many perspectives and no willingness to accept each other’s view.

Now much of this is due to my own over analysing what the likely response to my arguments is going to be.

Yet here I am right now, trying to approach it again. 🙂

I guess for me one of the things that I think about is how can the world be improved? To me there is so much that is wrong with the way we live. But how can you make it better without falling into the classic traps of hubris, facism, authoritarianism… or wishing for the fairyland dream that everyone becomes more educated and figures it out for themselves?

Still working on those questions… I’ll let you know if I ever find the answer… 🙂

So here I am enjoying a few new things…

Firstly, I got another raise at work. It’s kind of amazing that I manage to get a sizeable bonus even when I’m not at work (I’m currently taking two weeks holiday) – so yay me!

Secondly, due to my good news, I finally went ahead with a plan I have been working on for a few months – NEW COMPUTER!

Now people who know me well should know that I tend to upgrade every 3-5 years. I have a very functional iMac, but I do a lot of my writing and work on the go – and my faithful MacBook has been with me for some time now. It’s a bit chuggy, the the superdrive DVD doesn’t work anymore. So I felt it was time to upgrade to a sexy new machine.

And what a machine – I have the new MacBook 13″ 2.0Ghz aluminium. It’s a high tech looking computer with it’s maglock charger, glass screen and glass coated trackpad with built in mouse button.

While is it smaller than my old laptop – it is widescreen, and very sexy with the latest OS X and came with free mircosoft office 2008 and Airport Extreme unit. I also bought a new digital camera – which I intend to use while I’m up in Auckland this weekend.

Thus here I am, typing away on my new toy and enjoying every minute of it.

Last weekend we had a rehearsal of the rest of the WC Project’s first season. It was great to see all the cast again and run over the scripts. It is always insightful to talk to the actors and get a feel for how they are approaching their characters – and I found this aided my inspiration while finishing of the scripts.

Jackie has advised me that she has found masks (yay!) and I’m now in the process of getting the schedule together and hitting this puppy HARD. I want this to be an amazing web TV experience, and one that will either lead to an actual television show or a web series that manages to fund itself and pay for the actors to return for a second season.

We recently watched over the footage we’ve already filmed, and everyone was still laughing at the performances and dialogue – which is a good sign considering how many times we’ve watched the footage and read the scripts.

I can’t wait!

More later! Have a great weekend folks!

So I too have joined the WordPress revolution – hopefully this will lead to more regular posts as well! Keep an eye on this blog!

So when the new Doctor Who came out, I was a might impressed with it. The series managed to upgrade the series into something modern, while still keeping that essentially “British” feel to it. I have only been able to see the first season of the New Doctor and a couple of snippets of David Tennant’s run.
Torchwood was a spin-off that arose around the second season of Doctor Who, and was one that I avoided watching for some time. The reports I had received from people watching the series had left me uncertain as to whether I’d be keen to watch it or not. Sex, violence, gore, sex… it sounded a bit… different.
Finally on Baz’s recommendation, I got a hold of Seasons 1 and 2 of Torchwood to finally judge for myself whether the show was for me or not.
Season One: If sex makes things racy, bisexuality makes it racier!

Okay. So BBC Wales wanted to make a sexy, more Americanised science fiction action series. The first season of Torchwood is insanely inconsistent. There are some fantastic episodes in the series, but the writers clearly don’t “get” the genre mix they are aiming for.
As Lee puts it, the show is decidedly Welsh. However, rather than play up to Welsh cultural behaviour, the show struggles to be more American action show. Which makes the whole production kind of feel like a weekend project made on a big budget.
Within a few episodes, every major cast member had a same sex kiss – ooooh racy! Except it isn’t, even I found it kind of awkward watching. It felt less like the characters legitimately were bisexual and more like a purile “we’re so sexy we have sex with ANYONE!”
Which is a shame, because one of the best storylines is a bisexual storyline we only see play out in the background of season 1. Ianto, one of the team, loses the woman he loves and eventually takes comfort in a sexual relationship with Jack Harkness – the only openly and believeably consistent bisexual on the show. I loved how their relationship was scripted as it was foreshadowed from the very first episode and carefully built with simple scenes like Jack laying a hand on Ianto’s shoulder, or Ianto sharing a glance…
This is a great example of how this show struggles through the first season. It has some atrocious scripting where characters speak lines that just don’t ring true – and come across flat in those strong Welsh accents. But when the show just embraces it’s British culture, it works – such as an episode where during an investigation, Owen comes over with “four pasties for a pound” and a small scene plays out with the distinctly British feel of the characters sitting talking with their pasties.
By the end of the season, the characters have been better fleshed out and were really what kept me watching. I was more interested in Gwen’s struggle to balance her homelife with boyfriend Rhys, Tosh’s attempts to feel included, Owen’s struggle with finally falling in love to have the woman he loved leave him and of course the beautiful Ianto developing a love for Captain Jack Harkness…
Unfortunately the finale smacked of needing to be big without really having a good explanation. I think if they had built it up over four episodes rather than rushing it all into one with a limp leadup episode – it might have been better. As it was, the final crisis felt like an idea that was never really developed properly… which is a shame.

-Ianto Jones, gorgeous and with a sexy accent.
Season 2: Now this is more like it…
Fortunately, the Torchwood team seems to have fired all the previous writers – or sent them to a hard core writing camp – because the tone and feel of the first episode of season 2 is lightyears better. There is still a case of some motivations not really matching up – the bad guy kills someone and tells a witness “I was never here” then promptly walks into a local bar and threatens all the clientele with guns.
Worst is the decision to make Gwen fall in love with Captain Jack. I get the need for a love triangle to keep the Ianto and Jack storyline interesting – Jack is a promiscuous bisexual, which leads to all manner of potential conflicts – but it was so badly developed. In the first season, the relationship between Jack and Gwen never really felt sexual or passionately motivated. It felt like two people who respected each other – but were more friends than potential lovers.
Season 2 opens straight out with Gwen and Jack in a moment where Jack tells Gwen he wants her and she acts all lusty about it. Say what?! I don’t mind the triangle aspect – but it should have been built up more slowly over the season. Furthermore, why are Ianto and Gwen into Jack? He’s cute- but a slut. And openly so. Are they really that naive to think he will ever want to be just with one person?
I’m curious to see how this is developed over the rest of the season.
The show definitely aims for a bigger brassier action approach – and the dialogue is considerably wittier and more natural.
Check it out!
Love and Huggles

Conan

January 2009
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