Originality in Collaboration

I’m someone who enjoys writing stories. I really like writing poems, short stories and even scripts. One of my favorite genres to write are adventure and suspense stories. As such, I pride myself on creativity and originality. I get a lot of my ideas based on life experiences, dreams and various other ideas that come to mind  These ideas are one’s that I consider to solely be my own. But what of stories that are a collaboration or where the ideas came from another person than just the writer? The argument that there are no more original ideas is one to be looked into at another time, but that’s not what this post is about.

This question came to me when I was talking to a friend of mine. He gave a very interesting story idea based off of an experience that I was relaying to him. I joked that if were to ever publish the story, he would be labeled as a co- writer. I was left wondering if this idea, originated from a friend, could be considered originally my own.

To this, I say that it is. The way that a story is presented and written varies from writer to writer. The way that I would go into this idea is different from how my friend would have; from the setting down to the characters. That is where the originality in a collaboration comes from. The end product is still heavily influenced by the artistic vision of the writer. This is also seen in collaborative art. I did a collaboration piece with my friend and roommate from undergraduate. We drew a piece together where I drew a person holding a snake which she drew. Both of our artistic styles were present yet also separate. The originality may not be in the idea alone, but in it’s presentation.

This was a short post, but something that was on my mind and worked so well with today’s daily prompt. Hopefully this could help someone.

When You’re in a Rut

For me, it’s gets very frustrating to feel stuck in a situation. This applies to any aspect of life; from school to your livelihood. Thankfully, there are few places where I’m having this stagnant feeling. But in the places I do feel it, it hits me hard. I’ve written about writer and art block, but this rut feels a bit different. There’s something stifling and suffocating about a rut. Sometimes, it’s hard to figure out how to get out of it.

One major thing to remember is that it’s temporary. There is a phrase that I’ve heard in books, movies and television shows that ties to this; I’m relatively sure the phrase stems from a religious background, but I digress. The phrase is: “This too shall pass”. This can be said about ruts. Now, I know it feels like you can be stuck there for what feels like forever. But, it is a temporary thing. There are several things that I have done to try and push past a rut.

One of the things that I do, may sound a bit strange to do when in a rut. That thing is to just take a break. For me, I feel stagnant and like I’m in a rut when I’m overwhelmed. When too much is going on at once, it can make me shut down, thus putting me in a rut. So taking a breather can help with crawling out of that rut.

Once I’ve taken a break, I don’t jump straight into what was causing me to feel so off. An example is in my novel. I have been a rut with this for quite some time. Now that I feel more ready to write, I focused on other works. This isn’t the first time I’ve been in a rut when it came to writing my novel. The last time this happened, I decided to work on short stories, scripts and even fanfiction. I only dabbled in those for a few months or so, but after I was able to finish the first draft of my novel. I hoping to be able to get through a second draft , or even a final product.

Those are the main things that I do get through a rut. I hope these help someone who may be going through the same issue.

An Outlier in Success

Awhile ago, I made a post about the connection between a work’s success and luck. I talked about the fact that a successful work that becomes objectively successful tends to have well written characters, an interesting world and a well developed plot. And often times, all of this tied together with how sometimes luck often pushed these works into popularity? But what of the outliers? What about the really well made stories that just never to seem popular? Or, what about the works that seem rather lackluster but still reaches an insane amount of popularity?

In any formula, there is bound to be some outliers. This can be seen in the formula to success. But why? Well, lets start with a particular medium.  There are plenty of movies that reached a high level of popularity and a an abundance of money. One series that comes to mind is the Transformer series. Many people, critics and audience member alike, have picked fun at the series and not without reason. And yet, each movie in this series has gained it’s money back from production well into the hundreds of millions of dollars. When looking at the characters, it leaves quite a bit to be desired. The humans in the movie tend to be one note archetypes. The Transformers themselves aren’t any better. Several of theme are merely archetypes, some even offensively so. In regards to world building, it feels as if I, as an audience member, is completely disassociated with where the characters were, even though a lot of these places were completely grounded in the real world. And the plot felt like there was a tug of war between nothing happening and everything happening all at once with a lack of coherence.

So what happened to make this movie a success? It’s similar to what can make a good movie successful; luck. Sometimes, a movie that isn’t really that well written can get luck on it’s side to stay afloat or even become outright successful. An outlier in success shouldn’t always be seen as bad thing. The movie that becomes successful could be a first for a writer or director. They shouldn’t made to almost feel guilty for their success when they’re just coming into a style. This can also be said for a movie that doesn’t do well, but was written and directed well. It would be a shame to let this situation discourage a truly creative mind from making more works. This applies to all forms of media, from books to movies and even TV shows.

All of this makes me introspect on myself and my works as well. If the novel I write isn’t successful monetarily, I shouldn’t let it discourage me from continuing on in my progress, especially if I know that my works was written to the best of my ability. And I hope that reaches someone else who is working on creating their own works.

The picture was found here!

Understanding the Fixation on Aesthetic

When it comes to creativity, the aesthetic of the presentation is very important. This is naturally seen in visual presentations of media. What is the aesthetic of the film you desperately try to convince your friend to watch? I know  I used the term aesthetic when trying to convince my brother that my love for the visual album, Lemonade isn’t just because of my love for Beyoncé. I use aesthetic for other medium, like books. I even had a particular aesthetic in mind when crafting my blog through my subject matter and the images that I chose for each post. However, I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve formed a fixation on aesthetic.

I used to jokingly say things like “but it’s my aesthetic” when justifying whatever movie, song or even content creator that I happen to like. When it comes to aesthetic, it’s become an omniscient concept. Aesthetic used to be used to describe beauty. In regards to media, aesthetic was dependent on how aesthetically pleasing the characters were. Now it’s become more of a principle, a genre even, with a far- reaching scope. I’ll focus on creativity, naturally.

For me, personally, aesthetic transcends visual forms of beauty. In regards to sound, there is an aesthetic that I like. There’s a certain sound of music that I enjoy most, and can be found in any genre. Granted, there’s not just one aesthetic sound that I enjoy, and it’s not to say that music that doesn’t fit my particular aesthetic isn’t enjoyable to me. There’s just a particular sound that I really enjoy. Naturally, there’s a visual aesthetic in medium. Many films have a particular aesthetic that audience members seek out. One example is the aesthetic of indie films.

Is this a bad thing? I sometimes find myself wondering if I throw around the word aesthetic haphazardly without regard to its actual definition. Aside from possibly being annoying, I don’t think it’s a negative thing. For me, it gives me a chance to compartmentalize films, music and books that I may or may not want to indulge in. I feel that it’s the same with many people. I think that’s why many people focus on aesthetic.

The concept of aesthetics is seen in pretty much all medium; from films to books and even to things like anime and blogs. It’s prevalent everywhere, which is why there’s a fixation, for lack of better words, over it.

An Uncomfortable Scene

Day #19: Imagine your dream boyfriend/ girlfriend: their appearance, home life, etc. Write a scene in which their behavior is off- putting.

FADE IN:

INT. LIVING ROOM

Lights are dim with ceiling lights and one lamp on night stand. TV is on, but mute. Room is styled with modern- chic furnishing. Glass coffee table in front of couch. There are five different empty chip bags and two empty cans of beer.

TINA, 23, black with curly hair, TAPS fingers against laptop keyboard. Looks at MARCUS, 25, black with shoulder length dreadlocks. Marcus CRUNCHES on chips, leaving crumbs on couch. Reaches over to pick up beer from night stand. Tina purses lips, but focuses on laptop.

MARCUS

Can you be any louder?

Tina stops typing and looks at him. He keeps eyes on TV. Tina looks at beer can in his hands.

TINA

When did you start drinking?

Marcus CLINKS bottom of beer can against night stand. Tina frown and looks down at laptop.

TINA(CONT’D)

So… I’ve been working through my novel, I think I’m almost done.

MARCUS

Oh, you mean like you have for the past two years?

Marcus drops beer can. Beer gets into carpet forming a dark stain. Marcus gets up and walks into adjoining kitchen. Tina gets up to follow him.

INT. KITCHEN

Lights are flickering. The fridge and stove is a black stainless steel with complementing black cabinets. Marcus walks over to sink by the fridge. Rays from the sun creep in from slight open curtains. Marcus opens cabinet under sink to grab rag. Tina stands in front of him.

TINA

What’s wrong with you

MARCUS

(mumbles)

I’m tired.

TINA

Of what? You skipped out on work.

Marcus waves hand between the two of them.

MARCUS

(yelling)

This! I’m tired of this.

Marcus looks away, squeezing rag. Tina looks at his face, tears in her eyes.

FADE OUT

I decided to challenge myself and write the scene as a script. It’s been awhile since I tried my hand at script writing, and the inability to set the format is, for lack of better words, off- putting. Either way, I hope you enjoyed this short little scene.

 

The Lottery

Image result for the lottery

I wrote a script for my class a while ago and I thought that it would fit perfectly with this daily prompt.

FADE IN:

INT. OFFICE- AFTERNOON                          (PRESENT)

Office is bright with lots of cubicles. SFX, Papers rustling and staplers being pressed. BOSS, 57, is walking through the rows of cubicles. There is a TV in the office and the news is on.

FREDERICK, 34, sits at his cubicle that is under the TV. He looks at the picture of his wife and daughter and frown. He hears the news report talk about the latest lottery.

FEMALES NEWSREPORTER

That’s right, today’s lottery is going to be big win. It’s supposed to be one of the biggest wins in a decade with a whopping estimate of $400 million dollars. With that, let’s get today’s number.

Frederick pulls a crumpled lottery ticket out of his pocket and grabs a quarter out of a change bin near his computer.

(O.S) MALE CO- WORKER #1

Damn, do you know what I could buy with that type of money? New house, cars… maybe my girlfriend will finally accept my proposal.

(O.S) MALE CO- WORKER #2

Shit, with that type of money, you could get a new girl.

Frederick slouches over his desk and listens closely to the reporter. He uses the quarter to scratch the gray circles until numbers show.

FEMALE NEWSREPORTER

Today’s numbers are 21, 11, 14, 5, 46 and the lucky number is 18.

Frederick looked at his ticket and lurched forward. He looked at his ticket and the TV and back again.

FREDERICK

I won… I won. I won!

Frederick jumped out of his chair, it falls back.

BOSS

What are you doing Mr. Reid? You’re disturbing you colleagues.

FREDERICK

You’re right sir. I am, and I don’t care. I’m leaving; you know where to send my last check.

Frederick brushes past his boss, but goes back to get the frame that his wife and daughter and walks away

CUT TO:

EXT. GAS STATION PARKING LOT- LATE AFTERNOON

Frederick kisses the lottery ticket. SFX His phone starts buzzing. He silences it and gets out of the car. The picture falls off of the arm rest and falls to the back seat. The glass cracks.

INT. GAS STATION

There are very few people, and it looks dingy inside. Frederick walks up to the cashier.

FREDERICK

Hey, I bought this ticket this morning and I’d like to cash it in.

The cashier chews gum loudly and is not looking at Frederick.

CASHIER

Any winnings over $1, 000 can’t be cashed here. You have to go to the NCEL Corporate Office. Have a nice day, sir.

Frederick clicks his tongue but walks away.

INT. FREDERICK’S CAR

Frederick pulls out his phone and sees that he’s missed several calls and texts from his wife. He presses to call her back.

CAROLE

Honey, I’ve been trying to call you-

FREDERICK

Hey, get this babe; this cashier has given me such an attitude! Boy, does she have a storm coming. Oh! I’ve got some news for you and Amy. Don’t bother with dinner tonight!

CAROLE

And if I tell Amy that will you keep your promise. Or will I have to make up some excuse for you again?

FREDERICK

Calm down, Hun. Look, it’ll take me a few hours before I get home, so wait up alright?

The phone click and the other line hung up.

CUT TO:

INT. NCEL CORPORATE OFFICE- EARLY EVENING

The office has dim florescent lights and tile floors that don’t reflect the lights very well. Frederick is next in line.

FREDERICK

Yes, I’d like to cash in this ticket.

EMPLOYEE

Well, it would take two to three hours to validate the ticket, but we can’t even give you the full amount. You have to go to the NCEL head quarters. If you call them now, it could possibly help reduce your waiting time.

FREDERICK

That’s pretty inconvenient don’t you think.

His phone buzzes. The screen shows that Carole is calling. He hangs up. After a few minutes later she calls again.

CAROLE

Frederick, come home now. We need to talk.

FREDERICK

Hey, sweetie, I’m sure it’s important but you’ve got to stop calling me. I’m busy right now. I’ll be a few hours, so just wait up, okay?

Carole hangs up the phone again. Frederick puts the phone in his pocket and gets the address to the NCEL headquarters.

INT. FREDERICKS CAR

He looks for the picture frame. There are small pieces of glass around it. When he reaches to grab it, he cuts himself.

CUT TO:

INT. NCEL HEADQUARTERS- EARLY EVENING

It’s only him and the employee there. Employee gets stacks of money and pushes it near Frederick.

EMPLOYEE

Congratulations on your win, sir. We will respect your wish to privacy. Have a nice day.

Frederick’s phone buzzes again. He sends it to voice mail. Carole immediately calls again.

FREDERICK

Look, honey I’m coming home. Ok? I’m coming home.

The line stays quiet before she answers.

CAROLE

Fine. We’ll be waiting.

CUT TO:

EXT- OUTSIDE OF FREDERICK’S HOUSE- EVENING

There is a taxi in the driveway and several suitcases. Carole is by the taxi and AMY, 8, is already in the taxi. Frederick runs out of his car and goes to Carole.

FREDERICK

What are you doing? Honey, come on let’s talk about this.

CAROLE

No, you have been ignoring me and disregarding me all day, and this is nothing new. I can’t deal with you anymore. I just… I can’t.

FREDERICK

But- But honey, I won the lottery, we’re millionaires!

Carole smiles and kisses his cheek.

CAROLE

Try to save your money. Take care.

Carole finishes packing her things and gets in the taxi. They drive away leaving Frederick alone in the driveway.

FADE OUT

Book or Movie?

I think that I’m a rather creative person, or I like to think that I am. As such, I tend to get a lot of ideas for stories. I get into developing the characters and their setting, which is always my favorite part of the process. But then I find myself conflicted with how to proceed with my writing. I’m not sure if the story that I’m creating should be a script or a novel. I’m sure I’m not a lone in this. The process for both are similar. I’ll write about my characters and even draw them. I’ll write a plot and a timeline. But I find myself stuck on how to continue.

There are benefits to both. In writing the story as a novel, I have a lot more wiggle room. It gives me the ability to flesh out the settings in the scenes. But a script makes it easier for me to visualize what I want.

I’m just curious as to how other people combat this type of problem.