Thursday, June 18, 2015

Inside Out and Back Again

PIXAR does it again with Inside Out.  First I must warn you that this isn't a typical Disney movie, as the girl has both a mother and a father, and they're not divorced or dead.  I know, I know.  You must see it to believe it.

In this movie, we get the see all the emotions inside of our head.  In rainbow color order, there's Anger, Joy, Disgust, Sadness, and Fear.  At first, I was a little skeptical ... I mean voices in our heads?  A whole control panel?  Core memory islands?  Could these concepts last a whole movie?

Well, they did it impressively.  They held my attention the whole time.  It was highly imaginative, colorful, funny, and emotional.  Yeah -- emotional.  I found myself looking back into my own memories, trying to remember ones that were long forgotten.

And did I forget to mention the beautiful animation?  As usual, PIXAR did a good job.

I also enjoyed the music, which had a slight hint of retro 60's to go with the colorful animation.

I caught the 2D version, but I still noticed a lot of depth.  The story held its own without the 3D, but I think this would be a good one to catch in 3D.

My recommendation: go see this one in the theater with your kids.  It's lots of fun for the whole family.  And don't forget to stay for the first couple of minutes of the end credits.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Jurassic World: As Good As the First

After an okay sequel and whatever that third movie was, Steven Spielberg actually pulled off a successful revisit to the island, and he spared no expense.  With a budget of $150 million or more, Spielberg delivers an action-packed, exciting, and scary experience.

As you would expect, the plot is essentially the same as the first movie, only with more interesting characters, less cheesiness, cooler special effects. and a lot more extras: dinosaurs and people.

Despite the cliches and Hollywood formula, I actually enjoyed the ride.  It's worth catching this one in the theater.  It's as good, if not better than the first.

A quick warning, though.  These dinosaurs are scarier, and some scenes are rather disturbing, so I would not take any smaller kids.  I'm hoping for a couple of good nightmares, myself, tonight.  We'll see.

Monday, June 1, 2015

What Me Lazy?

Am I lazy?  Is that my problem?

As I was reading one of my fellow writer's blogs, I came across this post: Five Reasons you Won't Make it as a Writer by the funny author John Hartness (warning -- beware of hilarious f-bombs).  He lists five different reasons writers fail, and they're all true, but is "lazy" the right word?

He says:
Stop whining about how much time you don’t have to write, or how much “real life” gets in the way, or how much time it takes to raise your kids, or work your job, and how you’re too tired after working all day, coming home, fixing dinner, feeding a family, cleaning up after dinner, bathing the little ankle-biters, getting them to bed and then performing your husbandly duties so your wife still loves you. Yeah, shut your cake hole.
What he means to say is: "I don't want to hear your excuses.  If you wish to make it in this industry, you need to write A LOT OF WORDS."  While John doesn't want to hear your excuses (and I don't want to hear your excuses either), you still need to come to terms with yourself as to why you're really not writing -- and fix things.

The first thing to realize is that if you're not writing, it's only because you DO NOT WANT to write.  It's as simple as that.  I'll be honest about myself.  I write in spurts.  When I'm at a writing high, I write like crazy.  When I get tired of writing, I take a rest.  It's like a big cycles of ups and downs.  Of course, I think I would prefer a more steady habit of writing, but I'll take what I can.

The best way to de-lazy-fy yourself is to figure out what makes you NOT want to write, and attack that head on.  You may come up with a list of excuses (ala John Hartness above), but I think to be most successful, you need to really look inside yourself and find that one true reason you're currently stuck.

I'll try to take a stab at several reasons one may stop writing (many of which I've suffered myself at one time or another) ...

  • It's not fun anymore.  (Find a way to make it fun.)
  • Day job stress really is getting to me.  (Find a way to get better work/life balance and find a positive attitude so you can take advantage of any free time.)
  • It's too noisy at home.  (Maybe find another place to write, or write late at night or early in the morning when everyone else is asleep, or even learn to work in the noise.)
  • No one is listening to me.  (Just scream louder.  Eventually they'll listen.)
  • I'm a terrible writer.  (Are you really?  Sometimes when I think I've written terrible stuff, I'll go back a year later to read it again to find it isn't so bad.  Besides, I'm learning more and more that people care more about what you say rather than how you say it.)
  • My current project just isn't working.  (Why isn't it working?  Perhaps you need to set it aside and work on something else.)
  • I'm so depressed.  (I haven't quite figured out a solution to this.  Though getting more sleep does seem to help the depression spell go away faster.)
  • I have all these shows to watch on Netflix before they yank them away.  (Setting limits is very important if you wish to get other productive work done.  Besides, if the show gets yanked, there are other good shows to replace it.)
As for me, I'm coming out of one of the driest spells I've had in years.  Yes ... I intentionally sacrificed everything else recently to pass one last stupid actuarial exam, but I did it.  And now it's time to reboot my fiction writing.  Who's with me?  Who else has a hundred crazy ideas in your head ready to be written?  Who's ready to let the words flow?  Let's do this!