Archive for the ‘Videos’ Category

Hey, Everyone!

People have been asking me about the kinds of things I cover in my Grub Street class, Screen and Stage to the Page: What Drama, Movies & TV Can Teach Prose Writers.  Well, for want of a better term, we’ll be using ideas from theater and drama critics and directors to “reverse engineer” scenes like this one below from the brilliant cult TV show FREAKS AND GEEKS, so that the same techniques can be used for your prose fiction, or even memoir. Think of it as a computer hack, only we’ll  be dissecting the teleplay and watching the episode, then we’ll take those awesome nuggets and figure out how to plug them into our novels and stories. This specific bit from FREAKS AND GEEKS is what we’ll be covering in the section on “How to Tap Real-Life Experiences.”  We’ve all been in situations kind of like what Lindsey faces below. But how do you blow that up into something dramatic and funny and packed full of meaning? How do you write about “slice of life” situations and create compelling storytelling, and not just diary entries with names changed?

Watch!

 

That’s a pretty amazing scene, right? Full of a whole spectrum of emotions. It feels over-the-top, but it also feels real. When we’ll be looking at this TV script, we’ll be looking at the ways in which writer Michael White managed to concentrate Real Life into a brilliant fictional scene, and brainstorming ways to do the same things for your prose storytelling.

 

For a break-down of all the stuff we’ll be covering, check out the syllabus here!

To enroll, click here.

 E-mail me at profmike AT mindspring DOT com if you have any specific questions or want any further information.

 

Hope the New Year is treating you all well!

 

 

 

 

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*Sigh* I mostly write horror and dark fantasy. I want to write science fiction. But I can never _anticipate_ the future as a thing of absurdity or satire or terror. Each time I think of some future scenario, it’s overtaken by real life. A million years ago, I tried writing a political science fiction novel that just *became true* before I got far into it because of the candidacy of Ross Perot.  I tried writing about a near-future Great Lakes reality that just *became true* as Detroit imploded.

As a Science Fiction reader and writer, I can’t make up anything as insane as the Japanese Orgasm Game Show Challenge. And yet, it has happened.

I’ve been stuck in the writing of a dystopian SF novel for a while. I threw in a situation like the one below as an idea to sort of play with and explore as something going on in the background of the main action. I could never have come up with the really brilliant added touch of this craziness going on while the person was a.) fully clothed in a steam bath b.) in Alaska and c.) in January.

Here’s the explanation from Uproxx:

“Meet Kathleen Tonn, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate seat from Alaska currently held by Democrat Mark Begich. Here she is in a video she uploaded to her Facebook page, one that features her speaking in tongues fully-clothed in a steam room, naturally. She apparently did this to try to convert a non-believer into accepting Jesus Christ as her lord and savior.”

 

Really… how could even Alfred Bester, Robert Sheckley, Alice Sheldon or William Gibson have topped this true event through any imaginative act of extrapolation?

Hey, Everyone!

People have been asking me about the kinds of things I cover in my Grub Street class, Screen and Stage…to the Page! Using the Techniques of Playwrights and Screenwriters to Write Prose Fiction.  Well, without giving away too much, I can tell you that we will be taking apart scenes like this one from FREAKS AND GEEKS by dissecting the teleplay and watching the episode, then we’ll take those awesome nuggets and figure out how to plug them into our novels and stories. This bit from FREAKS AND GEEKS is what we’ll be covering in the section on “How to Tap Real-Life Experiences.”  We’ve all been in situations kind of like what Lindsey faces below. But how do you blow that up into something dramatic and funny and packed full of meaning?

Watch!

For a break-down of all the stuff we’ll be covering, check out the syllabus here!

To enroll, click here: http://tinyurl.com/3ctj92f  E-mail me at profmike AT mindspring DOT com if you have any specific questions or want any further information. Please note that scholarships are available for greatly reduced tuition. For more information on scholarships, please refer to the Grub Street page here.

Twenty-five years ago tonight, in 1986, I saw the infamous Butthole Surfers‘ “Rock Against Romance”/Valentine’s Day show at The Rat in Boston. It damaged me. Mentally. Spiritually. Emotionally. Loved it. The volume was so loud, my teeth literally shook and a friend of mine had a spontaneous acid flashback. Doors were opened that could never be shut, especially when lead singer Gibby disemboweled a giant teddy bear and wore its hollowed-out head as a mask.

I’m not kidding. That show really informed me as a writer. Here I was in a familiar place, in a club I hung out in a lot, surrounded by familiar faces I knew from the music scene back then… and reality just broke. I’ve used that sense of reality breaking in my fiction, most recently in “Shibboleth”, the dark science-fiction piece that finishes out my collection Stories from the Plague Years.

A glimpse of the psychosis induced–courtesy of video taken of that tour… “Whirling Hall of Knives”

My short story collection, Stories from the Plague Years is in the final stages of preparation and production from Cemetery Dance Publications. The collection deals thematically with the plagues that killed my friends in the 1980s–urban violence, rage, drugs… and AIDS. I’ve been talking to some younger people who have no idea what this felt like. The terror, the despair, and the anger at polite society that didn’t care that people were dying. Here are snapshots–A False Prophets video for the song “Never Again Again”:

And Diamanda Galas, “Double Barrel Prayer” (which she wrote as an act of mourning for her brother):

The new incarnation of SCI FI Wire, one of my main venues for my film criticism,as of yesterday is now Blastr. It’s another corporate branding/name change that seems to be falling on about the one year anniversary of SCI FI Wire/Balstr’s parent company, The Sci Fi Channel, becoming Syfy. The new layout of Blastr is pretty great. It’s pleasing to the eye in the way that SCI FI Wire was not. Though I have to say that I really miss the old Science Fiction Weekly, which got folded into SCI FI Wire about a year and a half ago. I any case, on the first day of Blastr’s existence, I contributed an article in honor of Bastille Day listing the Ten Greatest French SF Flicks. Check it out. I wrote it in a matter of of a couple of hours. It was fun to knock out. And now I want to re-watch La Jetée, having just written about how great it is.