Pride and Prejudice - The STORY GRID edition - Annotated by SHAWN COYNE

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ARCHIVES OF September, 2015

Writing Wednesdays

Writing Wednesdays

All Storytelling is About Metaphor

By Steven Pressfield | Published: September 30, 2015

A boxer takes a haymaker to the jaw. He falls. He struggles to one knee as the ref stands over him, counting, ” … two, three, four … ” Watch the faces in the arena. They have become that fighter. He is living their life, their struggle.

You are that fighter

(more…)

Posted in Writing Wednesdays
16 Comments

What It Takes

What It Takes

Always Come Out of Another Hole

By Callie Oettinger | Published: September 25, 2015

[I forgot about this post from Aug. 30, 2013, until I ran into Kevin Spacey’s speech again. Take a look and scroll down for Sir David Lean, too. For as much as things change, they stay the same. — Callie]

At about the 1:20 mark in Kevin Spacey’s MacTaggart Lecture, given during the Edinburgh International Television Festival, he looks straight into the audience and says, “It’s the Creatives, Stupid.”

It’s a television festival, so he keeps on the “television” theme, but that deeper thread is about change and taking risks.

When facing one of his first offers for a television role, he contacted his mentor, Jack Lemmon. He wasn’t sure that he wanted to take part in a television program that network execs had their hands all over—poking here and there within the creative process . . .

So . . . he calls Jack, and asks him about those “golden years of television” that Jack always spoke about—those years when Jack had first started out. “Was he being nostalgic or was there something different about the way television was back then?” Jack replied:

You have to understand, kid, that television was brand new back then. I mean, it was a new medium and nobody knew if it was gonna last—so you could try anything. Comedy one week … a drama the next… a musical… I mean…. It was terrific. It hadn’t been commercialized yet and no one knew it was going to be around that long. There was this sense of total abandon. Total abandon.

Total abandon. . . Not exactly the words we think of when television, films, music, books, or any other “creative industry” is mentioned today.

Within his talk. Kevin also mentions attending the 1990 American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement award for Sir David Lean—and how Sir David “dedicated his acceptance speech to the idea of promoting and supporting emerging talent. It turns out he was concerned, perhaps frightened by the film industry’s lack of commitment to developing talent and the greater and greater number of films the studios were making that appealed only to the pulse and not to the mind.”

Only to the pulse . . . not the mind . . .

(more…)

Posted in What It Takes
11 Comments

Writing Wednesdays

Writing Wednesdays

Giving Ourselves Some Props

By Steven Pressfield | Published: September 23, 2015

I missed out on the self-esteem movement. My day was about twenty years too early.

Serena at Wimbledon. "Good job, kid. You did it."

My generation was more like the Un-self-esteem movement. The Self-Disesteem Movement. We were constantly being told what bums and losers we were. Be a man! Suck it up! What’s wrong with you? Those were the child-rearing mantras that our parents, teachers, and coaches—the Greatest Generation—dished out to us. If you brought home a report card with straight A’s, the only question was, “Where are the A+s?”

Personal validation became a big issue with my peers and me. I’m not sure where this topic sits with Gen X or Y or the Millennials or the generations after. Maybe those waves are cool with themselves. I don’t know.

But for my era, this area is a problem. The tough love cited above is pretty much the soundtrack playing inside my generation’s heads.

Now add Resistance. We all know what those tapes sound like. Pretty soon we’ve got a whole symphony, or dys-symphony, of self-denigrating abuse running non-stop on a loop inside our skulls.

Stir in the next element of this toxic brew—the fact that you and I are artists and entrepreneurs, i.e., we’re on our own, with no supporting social structure to pat us on the back, tell us when we’ve done a good job, give us a raise or a promotion, etc.

Now add the final component: the reality that, no matter how great a job we do at whatever we’re pursuing, there’s every chance that when we expose it to the real-world marketplace, it’ll fall on its face. Our screenplay will not be optioned, our novel will not be picked up (or worse, it’ll get published and sell 200 copies—199 to our immediate family), our app will fizzle and die.

Oh, I almost forgot the kicker. Our family and loved ones. It’s not that they don’t care or don’t understand. They’re just busy. They’ve got their own issues. And they’re a little pissed off at us, if you wanna know the truth, for spending so much time on that stupid script/novel/app instead of bringing home some real rent money. And by the way we haven’t been spending nearly enough time nurturing and caring for them and supporting their dreams.

These are First World problems, I know. They’re not like getting your entire city blown off the map in Syria. But they’re real, just the same.

This is the world we live in.

So what’s the antidote to this relentless tide of rejection, isolation, negativity and disdain?

Self-validation.

Self-acknowledgment.

It sounds crazy, I know. What are we supposed to do—lock the door to the bathroom, stand in front of the mirror and tell ourselves we’re doing great?

Well, in fact … yeah.

Did you watch the women’s final at Wimbledon a few weeks ago? One thing I always wonder: what does Serena do when she gets back to the house she’s renting for the fortnight? When it’s late and the reporters are gone and her family and friends have slipped off to bed. Is there a moment when she sits alone with that golden Rosewater dish (the trophy for the ladies’ singles champion) and says to herself, “Good job, kid. You did it.”

Of course your world and mine is not as palmy as Serena Williams’. She’s got external validation coming in from everywhere. Trophies, checks, bonuses, sponsorship deals, her picture on TV and the covers of magazines. (more…)

Posted in Writing Wednesdays
33 Comments
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