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What It Takes

What It Takes

Video Didn’t Kill the Radio Star

By Callie Oettinger | Published: January 23, 2015

What would Sir David Lean think of "Downton Abbey?" Image credit: BFI.

In the March 1914 edition of Vanity Fair, James L. Ford discussed movies as a menace to stage.

A hundred years later, in the March 2014 edition of Vanity Fair, James Wolcott called “Everyone Back to the Cineplex” (after two years before writing, in the May 2012 issue of Vanity Fair, that “cinema has lost its sanctuary allure and aesthetic edge over television.”)

In March of this year, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock’s new Netflix series, “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” will be released, and the conversation that will follow this already-buzzing series promises to be a continuation of the old-as-dirt debate that one format is in decay and another is taking its place.

That argument is rubbish. In the late 70’s, the Buggles sang “Video Killed the Radio Star,” but the reality is that a new medium didn’t kill the radio star or the theatre production or film or books or television shows. Lack of vision killed the second-rate versions of all of these, while the classics survived and the visionaries emerged. (more…)

Posted in What It Takes

What It Takes

What It Takes

The Power of Negative Thinking

By Shawn Coyne | Published: January 16, 2015

[Join to read more of Shawn’s Stuff]

So just how do you take your story to the end of the line…to the limits of human experience?

The storyteller needs a tool to not only understand this concept, but to evaluate whether or not they have successfully done so. And if you’re writing a big story, you have to go to the end of the line.

Positive Thinking Gets All the Press

The trick to figuring out how to do that is discovering what Robert McKee calls the negation of the negation of your global story value.  Once you understand the negation of the negation of a global story value you will discover whether or not your draft or your murky foolscap sketch for a story has legs.  And in the process, if you do this work early and often, you’ll be able to clearly understand the obligatory scenes and promises that you are making to the reader by your choice of genre and or mix of genres.

Let’s take a step back and look at Story values again.

What the Hell am I talking about when I use the phrase “story value?”


Posted in What It Takes

What It Takes

What It Takes

Broken Isn’t The End

By Callie Oettinger | Published: January 9, 2015

This past Wednesday, artist Lucille Clerc tweeted the image below.

It shows three images of a pencil, in three stages of existence: full, broken in half, and resharpened into two pencils of varying lengths, but both with equally powerful points.

A fourth image might have both ends of a previously-broken pencil sharpened — or if the pencil reaches a point where it is too small to sharpen, the image might be of pigments on a wall, etchings on glass, or via other ways artists have expressed their work for eons.

Broken isn’t the end. It’s the preamble to a new beginning.


Posted in What It Takes
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