Even thought it’s been talked to death, we look back at the plusses and minuses of The Last Jedi.
Indie Author Day is an opportunity for the indie community to come together at their local library to help local self-published and independent authors get discovered and for readers to find new books written by fellow community members. Independent authors and aspiring writers can also participate in presentations and workshops about writing, editing, and publishing. Learn more about Indie Author Day, now in its second year, and see which libraries are holding events this Saturday, October 14th, 2017 by visiting the link below.
I’ll be attending the Indie Author Day event at the Pickerington Public Library and will host a workshop at 11:00-Noon about Exploring Your Publishing Options. If you’re local, please stop by and say hello, meet more than 20 indie authors, and participate in the workshops.
In celebration of Indie Author Day, I’m also giving a special a special discount on Frankenstein A Life Beyond (Book 1 of 3) The Resurrection Trinity from October 13th – October 18th. Save an additional $2.00 off on the ebook version by using the code ‘authorday’ during checkout. Also, for the first time, a hardcover print on demand version of this book is now available. Enjoy and happy reading! Visit
Check out my newest interview on the Shut Up & Read blog
and take advantage of a chance to read my novel Frankenstein A Life Beyond for free by participating in the Read It and Reap program:
or the sequel Frankenstein Soul’s Echo
Reviews will need to be posted 3 weeks after you sign up.
Enjoy and happy reading!
We know Clue is a popular, historic board game. And it’s a popular, cult classic movie. Now, why can’t we see the two married together in a modern day video game?
Enjoy special pricing on Smashwords for Frankenstein A Life Beyond (Book 1 of 3) The Resurrection Trinity, Frankenstein Soul’s Echo (Book 2 of 3) The Resurrection Trinity, and Princess Bella and the Dragon’s Charm by saving 75% off these ebooks during July 2017!
A number of indie authors are participating in this sale so be sure to check out Smashwords for other special pricing this month and find some new authors and great reads.
Every now and again I like to pause and reflect on the craft of storytelling in its myriad forms. For several years now I’ve been scratching my head over the state of screenplays. I’m primarily referring to big budget pictures but not exclusively. This is also not to say there haven’t been very good, engaging, fun, or interesting films in theaters. However, I’ve begun to realize that there are fewer and fewer films that I have a genuine desire to revisit after an initial viewing. Why does this pattern seem to be getting stronger for me? Is it simply that I don’t fit the demographic for certain films? Are my expectations too high? Am I too lazy and just not seeing the right films in the theater? Certainly any of these are possible but what else might be driving this trend from an industry standpoint?
First, the overall trend of box office profitability has been going down over the past few years. There will be bumps here and there but the general trend has been down. People’s viewing habits have changed, sources of entertainment have diversified, and economics are always factors but could it also be that films, in general as well as in mystique, have lost something?
Films are expensive, risk-filled ventures. A single film may spawn a franchise or end any hope of such long term gains immediately. Studios spend millions making, testing, and marketing their products. With all this attention to creating a viable movie, why does it feel as if films are increasingly weaker?
Most movies today have a much shorter shelf life in theaters than movies had in the past. They have to make their money upfront then make up for any domestic box office shortcomings through foreign markets and home market (TV, DVD, etc.) release. In some ways this moves them closer to play productions, which feature tight budgets and the need to make a big initial impact or it is curtains.
But increasingly it seems that budget concerns, dreams of establishing franchises, and meeting key demographic needs are superseding good storytelling. When writers don’t give the audience a reason to care about conflicts, have shallow characters with poor or no clear motivations for their choices, are a tonal mess, or have confusing or convenient ways to solve problems in a story (or you just drop story points for no good reason after you’ve spent time setting something up for the audience) it makes a film lesser.
These are the big factors I’m seeing lately. How many films now sacrifice good storytelling so they can crudely set up elements for another (hoped for) film or wander off on a twenty minute action tangent that does nothing to advance the plot or characters, only extends the runtime of the film and are used as a crutch for having no real coherent story? It’s equally frustrating when the company behind the film wants you to read a book or comic just so you can understand what’s happening in the movie you’re watching and why. If it’s that important to the story I’m watching put it on the screen. These issues create a paralysis of creativity because studios have to try to milk a brand name for all its worth, and now it’s happening before they’ve even given us one solid film for a franchise.
To make up for these problems, the marketing of some films seems to have also become more questionable. Have you been drawn in by a trailer expecting one story but ultimately watching something totally (and tonally) different from what you went to see in the first place? Sure. We all have but this seems to be a complaint heard more often by frequent filmgoers. A film is born of the collaborative process involving a number of voices and influences (writers, directors, producers, studio committees, actors, test audiences, artists – digital, traditional visuals, costumes, make-up, sound, etc.). On any given production, you could probably ask any of these people if the finished product is even close to what they started out to create and get a firm, “No.” That’s not unusual and sometimes that turns out to be a very good thing. But there seems to be a new level of second-guessing, micromanaging by studios, and an unwillingness to let a story organically evolve and tell itself that hampers films today to the point that we end up with more and more films that no one is really happy with or proud of making.
The goal of moviemaking is no longer one of craft, artistry, or storytelling but of making a big splash with a product and hoping the ripples get your boat to shore.
This approach, when compared to the state of long form television shows (streaming, cable, or broadcast) that develop characters, plotlines, increasingly have cinematic qualities and productions, and are more apt to take risks with stories and characters, has fundamentally flipped the theater and television viewer experiences. Films, like shows from the 1980’s and early ‘90’s, have become formulaic, can look cheap (often with subpar CGI giving character, setting, or situations an unreal quality that takes the viewer out of a story), or are so poorly executed that they alienate an audience rather than build one. This is not to say that all television is golden these days, there are still plenty of bad shows, but many modern shows do possess stronger (coherent) storytelling than a lot of films.
Again, these are just some thoughts based on general trends and my overall relationship to many of the films I’ve seen over the past few years. That said, I’ll close with a few modest suggestions for films.
Big budget films help keep studios profitable and make smaller movies possible. But if basic storytelling continues to take a backseat then brands will fade, the number of prominent flops will increase, and moviegoers will inevitably seek entertainment elsewhere. There’s still no substitute for a solid screenplay and story that is told well.
Angelou, author, Bronte, Cummings, Dickinson, Giovanni, Hughes, Loreena McKennitt, Mark Low, McKay, National Poetry Month 2017, Neruda, Olds, Oliver, Pete Planisek, poems, poetry, poets, Sexton, Tenneyson, Yeats
Thank you to everyone who followed Enceladus Literary’s April 2017’s Celebration of Poetry. I had a lot of fun picking various authors, revisiting or discovering new authors and works, and sharing five original works by poet Mark Low.
If you missed any of the social media posts (Twitter – @peteplanisek or on Facebook), you can catch up by visiting the links below. I’m already looking forward to next year’s National Poetry Month and would love to share the works of other new poets.
More to Come …
What Makes a Poem … a Poem? TedEd – Melissa Kovacs
“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”
― Mary Oliver
“The Good and Evil of the World” by Rebecca Hazelton
“The Robed Heart” by Elizabeth Spires
“I dwell in Possibility” by Emily Dickinson
“Poetry” by Nikki Giovanni
“Meditation XVII” by John Donne
“We Are Many” by Pablo Neruda
“Tonight’s Anatomy” by Jessica Johnson
“The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“Poverty” by Heidy Steidlmayer
“(“if(touched by love’s own secret)…”)” by E.E. Cummings
“A Child’s Garden of Verses: Selected Poems” by Robert Louis Stevenson
“A Memory of June” by Claude Mckay
“The Enchantment” by Sharon Olds
“The Lady of Shalott” by Alfred Lord Tenneyson / Music by Loreena McKennitt
“Ah, Why, Because the Dazzling Sun” by Emily Brönte
“The Earth Falls Down” by Anne Sexton
“Yesterday and Today” by Langston Hughes
“Touched by An Angel” by Maya Angelou
“She Walks in Beauty” by Lord Byron
“Winter Driving” by Mark Low
“Gathering” by Mark Low
“Wind” by Mark Low
“Winter Beach” by Mark Low
“History in Yellow” by Mark Low