The 2 reasons I loved WRECK-IT RALPH

Thoughts on Entertainment

There ‘s a plethora of reasons to love WRECK-IT RALPH, of course–too many to mention here.  But in the course of talking to my friends and family, I’ve narrowed my intense devotion to it down to two main reasons:

The movie is bigger than my imagination.

Any number of fantasy movies out there promise to show you exciting worlds.  Too many of them fall short, causing you to walk out of the movies thinking, “That was cool, but there was something missing.  Why didn’t they do…?”

RALPH makes good on the promise.  After the second viewing, I though to myself, “There is nothing I would add to this movie.  I can’t imagine anything that would make it better.”

Simply said, every possibility is explored to the fullest.  You’re watching, and in your hindbrain somewhere, it says, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…?”  And then…IT HAPPENS IN THE MOVIE.   It’s not just in the jokes–the mechanics of the worlds lock together perfectly to support the character journeys.

Which brings me to my second reason why I loved WRECK-IT RALPH so much:

RALPH explores the struggles you can encounter while you’re learning to accept your native abilities.

In writing SCVK, I’ve realized this is a theme I feel strongly about.  So many movies say, “If you follow your heart and believe in yourself, things will work out.”

I believe this is true, but a lot of movies gloss over the fact that sometimes it is really hard to be true to yourself.  It’s easier to look over at someone else and say, “I wish I could be like her, I wish I were funny like him.”  You can waste a lot of time doing this (even your whole life!).  Claiming your gifts is a tough deal sometimes!

In RALPH each character either was doing, or wanted to do, the very thing they were designed to do!  Felix fixed, Calhoun commanded.

Ralph wrecked, but people looked down on him for doing what he was designed to do, and that caused him a lot of heartache.  Vanellope wanted to race, but was being shut out because she wasn’t like the others.  So much of the story comes out of these characters trying to do what they were meant to do, and feel good about it.  That resonated with me.

Between this and Paperman, Disney is starting to feel more like the king of family films again, rather than the lazy emperor of entertainment.  I hope the keep it up!

Planning a Novel with Post-Its!


As I said in an earlier post, I tend to get images of major scenes, and then I sort of write my way towards them, picking up other ideas and threads as I go.  Right now I’m organizing everything through the magic of Post-It notes!

ImageThey’re just inside a cabinet door in my room.  The blue ones are scenes I know for certain will happen–and in what order–while green are scene ideas that haven’t indicated when they’ll occur.  Or if.

I like this set-up because I can move ’em around, rewrite, or ‘lock in’ scenes whenever.  On the downside, they occasionally fall off and get crumpled when I’m getting my pajamas out.

“One person’s mess is merely another person’s filing system.”  –Margo Kaufman

The Wall – Part 3 (Or: The Dream)


In our last episode, I discovered that now that I’d said goodbye to the novel ending I’d imagined for ages, new ideas and scenelettes were popping up, and I now had a recipe for a satisfying ending.

But I still had no idea how to get to that ending from my current state.  I kept writing anyway.

Then, one day, I had a dream.

I’m no hippie, but I do believe that the unconscious mind wants to help you out and sends up dreams to help your waking mind access insights that’d otherwise remain buried.  Also, I rarely dream about my own characters.  I can count the number of times they’ve shown up on one hand–and they’re usually cameo appearances.  So when I had this full-length dream that was nothing but my own characters, I took notice.

Instead of rolling over and forgetting the dream, I dragged my dream binder out from under my bed and jotted down the dream as best I remembered it.  (Then I went back to sleep.)

When I got up in the morning, I re-read the dream.  The strangest thing was that this newcomer character had the starring role in the dream–but he seemed to be taking the place of my protagonist!  Though he looked like himself, the other characters treated him like my lead.  And the way he reacted to the different places he traveled to sounded like my lead character talking.  In the end, this character actually met my protagonist in-dream, and he was acting differently!  That was an interesting conversation!

I thought about it a while, then realized: if I, in my novel, had my protagonist do the things and have the reactions I saw the newcomer have in this dream, there was a pattern here which, applied to the novel, could get me to the ending.  Not only that, but it something I’d never thought of before–in fact, it was the exact opposite route I was planning on taking.  But the more I reviewed the dream, the more I realized–yes, this could work!

So that’s the path I’m at now.  After reaching the end of my last map, I have suddenly been handed a second, and it looks like I know the way to the end!  Hallelujah.

Name the greatest of all inventors.  Accident.”  –Mark Twain

Danger: Artist Experimenting


Today I will attempt to create the mashup that’s been floating around in my head for ages:

Hawai’i ’78, by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole (Just the “Reprise” version)

Somewhere, from WEST SIDE STORY (guess I’m using Barbra’s version!)

with just a pinch of MJ, for a bridge (the 1:56 section)

It works out well on the piano!  We’ll see if Audacity has the chops to do what I need… :P!  Can’t hurt to try, tho!

The Wall – Part 2


In our last episode, I had written a farewell to the ending SCVK would never have.  Afterwards it seemed natural for me to start wondering, on paper, how it would all end.  Wondering on paper led to my making tiny notes.  Conceits began falling into place: my character’s main conflict was X, and it looked like choices W, Y, and Z would have to happen to resolve it to my satisfaction.

For fun, I began thinking a little more about the story’s structure.  I’d already given the first few major sections names.  Now that the Lanakila Camp milestone had passed, I knew I was moving into a new section, and that the section after that would have to be the end.  I made a little list in my notebook:

  1. Emergence
  2. Line
  3. Going Underground
  4. Buried
  5. ???
  6. Rest

5 being the part I was actively working on.  Seeing the sections laid out like this, I decided, when the time comes for editing, that I should see if parts 1 and 2 could be combined.  I’ve always hated the name “Line” for segment 2  (I mean…What??) and FILM CRIT HULK convinced me that 5 might be the magic number for story structure segments.

* * *

When I’m not writing, I have a tendency to think nebulously about scenes that are “down the road” apiece. Now that I didn’t have the old ending hanging around my neck, I found new scene ideas floating into my head.  There was no rhyme or reason to their order, but the images were clear and they seemed to be growing out of scenes I had written or was currently writing.  For me, this is a good sign to me that they’d probably show up to be written later on.

When I was writing, I found that the scenes I was currently feeling my way through contained the seeds for future mischief.  For example, The newest member of the cast–one I’d envisioned many years (like the deleted family) but who hadn’t yet shown up in-scene–came onstage.  At first, I’m like, “WHO IS THIS GUY?”  I was so used to envisioning him at the peak of his career, I didn’t know where he had come from!  Now I was meeting him at the beginning.  I scribbled away, hoping his background and idiosyncrasies would become evident.  Instead of showing me his history, though, he began displaying some concerning symptoms.

Little did I know this character and his problem would show me the path to SCVK’s new ending.

“May the bridges I burn light the way.” –Dylan McKay