Moral of the story

The moral of the story is one of the most essential parts of a story.

I’m going to save you the reading. I’ll tell you that if you have a story that you like to tell but it’s got no ending just add “the moral is this” then tell them.

You don’t have to read on but thank you in advance for doing so.

Let’s get on with it.

It took me a few years to understand adding a moral to a story.

Every story, whether you like it or not has a moral. It may not be a good one, it may not be a needed one, but hey, every story has one.

What’s your favourite story that you like to tell?

You probably have a few stories that you like to tell. They either make you a secret genius, or you’re comfortable enough that you don’t mind coming off as a bit of an arse. I bet that as you’re reading this right now, you imagine a few of those stories.

I am too.

There are a couple of stories that I like to tell over and over again. There’s the time I pulled in Brussels and almost ended up stranded in Europe. There was the fancy dress party where I made everyone cry. There’s also inside stories that my sister and I love reliving. Claire if you’re reading this, the goat on the road, “he has asthma he might die”. Oh and something to do with a wig that scared granny.

Now you might think that these stories don’t sound too great but you have them, and I have them. These stories have clear beginnings middles and ends. There is a message that doesn’t need overtly stated. You know a good story when you experience it.

What about the other stories?

You mean the ones that aren’t so good. The ones that have a beginning and a middle but no real ending.

Those are the stories that I want to talk about.

I have a couple of stories like that. I like telling them but they just kind of fizzle out rather than come to a definite end. Also I love telling them because they have enough detail and suspense present that they’re enjoyed. That is until I get to the end zone.

You know what it’s like you tell the story, and it’s over, but it has no end. You can see their faces can’t you? They’re looking at you expectant.

“Then what happened?”

“Well then I left”

“Did anyone say anything?”

“No”

“You just walked out of there?”

“Yeah, I thought the commissioner recognised me.”

“Oh.”

“But she didn’t”

“Oh”

Why do people keep asking questions

When people ask you questions like that what they’re doing is looking for some kind of closure to the story. If people ask what happens next, it’s because they are expecting some sort of conclusion. You didn’t provide them with one, you told an incomplete story. If people ask for details “What were they wearing”, “How did they react” it’s because they want to fully see the story in their head. You told a good story.

These incomplete stories, I’m going to tell you how to complete them.

It’s simple, you say “The moral of the story is” and then sum it up.

As an example, I’m going to tell you a story that I like to tell but has no end. Then I’ll give you the moral, and you’ll see that it’s an improvement.

Before you start reading let me give you advance warning that this will not be the best story of all time. With or without moral it’s not the best. Let’s manage our expectations accordingly, shall we?

Good.

Donegal Story

Back in school, before I’d turned 18, I spent a few weeks during summer out in Donegal. Four of us from school went. A friend invited us to his holiday house, and merrily we went.

There was a local pub that we went to. It was local by Donegal standards, in this case, a 45-minute walk on a country lane with no lighting. None of us could drive, and so my friend’s parents dropped us off.

The group of us sat in the pub and drank. I remember looking at some of the local men who sat in stoic silence at the bar not talking to each other. I told my friends that if I lived out in the wilds of the country, I’d try heroin. Only because what was the worst that could happen?

As the night went on, there was a band that was playing traditional music. Was never much of a fan but a friend asked me to request some song that I never heard of and can’t remember the name of. The singer gave me a historical lecture as to why they no longer sang that song.

The night grew longer. At some point, we’re all a little worse for wear now, the “boyos” arrived. They were loud and spotted us immediately. They crowded around our table. The boyos knocked into us on a few occasions sending precious booze spilling. They were doing it deliberately. I may have been drunk, but I wasn’t blind drunk. I saw them smirking and winking to one another.

The pub shut and we made our way out into the windy Donegal night and began the walk home. It was a 45-minute walk sober, God knows how long when pissed.

We walked, talked and stopped for toilet breaks. We passed a school that Padraig Pearse had taught at. Down the hill around the curve.

As we were walking, we noticed behind us lights getting closer in the distance. We kept walking.

The lights were closer, and we could hear an engine rattling getting louder. We all stood in close to the side of the road. Is it with or against traffic?

The vehicle passed, it was a bus. It pulled over and idled. My friends and I stopped in our tracks, the door of the bus opened, and several of the “boyos” appeared.

“Are you going to Seaview?” the largest of a large bunch asked.

It took us a moment before my friend who organised the trip offered, “No we’re having an early one tonight.”

“Fair enough,” says he before disappearing back inside the bus. The bus pulled off. In my drunken haze, feeling brave I shout at the bus pulling away, “Aye, fucking drive on you wankers”.

The bus stopped, and I returned to my natural cowardly disposition. The large one emerged from the smoke and the light.

“Did ye say something there lad.”

“Ehh, have a nice night,” I said. He nodded, disappeared and short after that so did the bus. The four of us left us alone, in the cold and dark with further to walk.

The moral is

Now that is where the story ends. If you liked the story, thank you but let’s add a moral. Imagine I’ve finished telling that story. Instead now right after the last line, I say “So the moral is if someone asks you are you going to Seaview you say yes”.

Might not be the best but it’s an improvement over the original.

Try it yourself.

So remember, the moral of this post is that you add a moral at the end.

Advertisements

Kavanagh and Kanye: Kavanye?

Kavanagh and Kanye have been in the news recently.

Kavanagh and Kanye are in the news right before the midterms, and it got me wondering.

Have the Democrats royally fucked themselves?

If you read my previous post. The one about the Battle of the Sexes 2.0 I mentioned about how Democrats are becoming the women’s party.

Let me mention again, not saying this is a bad thing I’m just wondering how that will shape up for them in the long run.

The Kavanagh affair has sub-communicated to American men that at any point you can be accused.

You can be accused with no evidence, just eyewitness testimony.

Now there are a group of people who tend to suffer worse when it comes to false accusations. I’m talking about African American men.

This film used to about injustice. Now it’s about justice

Here is a link to a report from the University of Michigan.

In it is says that African American men are more likely to be wrongly convicted in sexual assault cases. Especially cases were it has relied on eyewitness testimony. Not only that but they’re more likely to stay locked up longer.

Please read

So let us imagine that you’re an African American male. I understand that some of you may find this easier than others.

On the one hand, you have the party that you are “supposed to side with”. They’re saying that if a white woman accuses a man of assault or rape without evidence, she will be believed. This party are sexist because they see women as incapable of lying. Anyone who has asked a woman has she eaten today knows full well that they are capable.

Here’s where Kanye comes in.

Kanye get much higher?

On the other hand, you have Kanye West saying that African Americans don’t have to vote Democrat. African Americans are free to think and vote however they please.

So in this scenario, as an African American man, what do you do?

Do you stay put in Egypt or do you follow Moses into the wilderness?

Your future in Egypt is set in stone. In the wilderness, anything can happen, but you’re free.

Now I’m not saying all African American men will switch their vote. I will say that the timing of Kavanaugh and Kanye is fascinating and it will have an effect in November.

That’s all I got to say about this, but I just want to talk about something that I noticed.

Are CNN’s African American pundits from Northern Ireland?

In Northern Ireland, you know that person who knows someone who knows someone who is famous.

“My cousin knew Liam Neeson when he went to University.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah, said he was a prick.”

In Northern Ireland, you can do well, but you can’t do too well. If you rise to the top, we only love you when you fall from grace, ie George Best and the Titanic.

If you’re from Northern Ireland, you can be good at something but heaven help you if you acknowledge your skill.

“You’re funny Kieran.”

“I’ve always thought myself above average when it comes to humour.”

“Jesus, listen to the ego on you, get off yer high horse”.

This popped into my head when I saw some of the coverage on CNN of Kanye West meeting Trump.

You had several African American pundits saying that Kanye is a “token negro”. They said Kanye should stick to his day job. According to CNN he’s not going to make a difference. You know, kind of how they said that Trump should stick to being a real estate mogul.

You then see Don Lemon referring to him as, and I am quoting Don here, “Minstrel show”.

I feel uncomfortable linking to what Donald Lemon said.

This is such a Northern Irish reaction.

“Here Northern Ireland is a bit shit.”

“It is, let’s try and improve it.”

“Oh my God, who do you think you are, what gives you the right to change our beautiful culture?”

Look I’m not saying that Northern Ireland and CNN’s African American pundits don’t want things to get better. I do have an expression for my fellow country people and CNN pundits in general.

“If the people of Northern Ireland were happy they’d be miserable.” – Kieran Majury

You and I are living in the Golden Age.

Kanye is leading the way.

Let Scott Adams explain.

Visualisation: How it can make you see the positive

Visualisation is something that you and I are born with but what does that mean?

You can use visualisation right now.

You can use visualisation even when you don’t want to. Visualisation can happen against your will.

Please, as you scroll down through this do me one favour and don’t think of pink elephants.

Thank you.

Visualisation is a way of helping us to see more clearly into a situation that may or may not come up in the future.

If you have been reading me for a while now, you know that I am a big fan of meditation. Meditation has been helping me to start the day right. I do it first thing after making my bed and doing my morning motivation. Morning motivation involves self-talk, affirmations and gratitude. I finish with meditation because it takes the longest. Meditation is a useful means of refocusing myself so that I can take on the day.

Part of my meditation now involves setting intent for the day and what is it that I want to accomplish that day. That involves doing visualisation exercises.

What are the visualisation exercises I hear you ask on the other side of the screen?

They are simple and do not require too much-complicated thought.

You just imagine yourself in the scenario that you will be in. You believe everything going well for you.

In case you think that this is just some new age nonsense, which you’re entitled to do. Let me point to one of my childhood heroes as a means of proof of the system.

Arnold Schwarchaneggar is a big believer in the power of visualisation. He would imagine everything going well for him. Arnold could see himself going through the motions. He would see the best version of reality coming true for him.

It should be noted that Arnold also put a lot of hard work in and there was definitely struggle involved. Arnies’ life has by no means been perfect. Look how far he has come. From the Austrian hills to a multiple Mr Universe. Defying all odds to be one of the biggest box office draws to the governor of California.

Visualisation didn’t put him where he is, but it could be argued that it helped.

Scarcity v abundance

When you’re dealing with people in the day to day think of how often they make excuses not to take action. I include myself in this bracket. People don’t not out of careful consideration but out of fear.

You probably know someone who is in a toxic relationship, and they know it too.

You tell them that they should get out. They can’t, not because of any deep love or sense of duty to that person. It’s because they’ll struggle to find someone again.

How does that make sense to you?

The truth is it doesn’t. They know that, and you know that. It’s ridiculous.

People would rather be in a bad relationship than spend time by themselves. They would instead take comfort in the bad than a moment of being unsure.

This is a scarcity mindset, and so many people have it in some form or another, and it is a death sentence. It’s killing you.

This scarcity mindset has been drummed into us over thousands of years. You and I are descended from the ones who endured ice ages, famine and war. You and I come from the ones who awaited the next disaster.

Here’s the thing.

You and I are living in the best possible time. If you are reading this, you are fortunate. Not because my writing is that good, I mean it is but you know? You have a certain degree of privilege. You have all these forms of distraction competing for your attention, and you’re reading me. Thank you. If you’ve access to the internet and time to read this, then you’ve more than the majority of people who have ever lived on this hurtling rock. That you and I are even alive puts us ahead of the majority of all existence.

You’re probably thinking where am I going with this?

What I’m saying is that you already have so much more than everyone and everything else. Why are you afraid of owning what you have?

Take my aunt.

I love her, but she is one of the most negative people I have ever met.

When my grandma died, we all went to the funeral home to bring her to the church. In the car was mum, dad, sister, aunt and me. It was one of the most frustrating car journeys. My aunt wastes so much of her time on negative hypotheticals, “What if this goes wrong?” “What if this happens”. I found it boring and annoying. She was wasting so much mental energy by attempting to engage everyone in coming up with solutions to bad scenarios that hadn’t happened. In fact, none of her worries came to pass. She had such a scarcity mindset that she could not see things going well. They went as well as funerals can.

You have to use visualisation for good.

How I use visualisation, how you can.

I do stand up on occasion. Sometimes it goes well sometimes not so much. Now it doesn’t matter because it will go better than most stand-ups I’ve done in the past. My worst sets are average at best because rather than going over my set, right before I am set to go on stage, I visualise. I imagine myself being the funniest person in the world.

“The world, slow down Kieran, you’re not that funny”. You might be saying that, but I’m quoting that little negative voice that lives inside my head.

When you’re visualising, you have to go big. I close my eyes and see myself getting up on stage. I’m enthusiastic, big smile and I’m able to hit all the notes and all the beats perfect. I can see the audience, they don’t just giggle, they are on the floor, rolling around losing bladder control. Paramedics are called in, defibrillators are used on people, but then they get caught up in laughing. People flat out die I’m that goddamn funny. I can’t finish my set because of the roar of the crowd.

That’s the visualisation.

The reality on the other hand.

The reality.

Reality is much different, but I’m more confident thanks to visualisation.

Next time you’re in a situation where you’re nervous, let’s get rid of the word nervous first. You’re not nervous you’re excited. You’re excited that people are coming to spend time in our company how lucky for them.

Visualise it going well. Make the image so big that it even shuts up that negative voice. That negative voice is a small child front row in an IMAX screen watching the movie of how well your life is going. It’s too engrossed to speak.

You can see it can’t you?

Dublin System: Now you can improve your word count

Why do you call it the Dublin System?

Because it keeps on Dublin and Dublin.

You should know that now it’s much easier to write loads in a short space of time.

For years as a writer, I have been doing it wrong. I was always concerned about page counts. You could see me worrying about how many pages a piece of writing was.

Do you want to know what the problem is?

I’m a lazy person. I’m an even lazier writer.

This style impacted my work. In the struggle to get pieces to the right page count, I would start adding in filler words. You would have characters that would chime in with redundant “Yups” and “Ok”. They killed the pacing of the work, but hey we’re getting to the 90-page mark using the least amount of energy.

You probably won’t be surprised to hear this, but this would lead to trouble in practice. Scripts and writing would look the right amount, but there would be something missing. The work would seem a little, empty.

That was until I took a course on productivity for writers on Udemy. In it, there was a spreadsheet that was all about tracking your daily word count.

I’m not a fan of counting the words because first of all, it made me realise how few words I would actually write. Second of all, I like to write everything out with pen and paper first. Counting the words would just add on time that I didn’t want to spend.

I decided to humour the course and did the word counts. You know what, doing them actually turned out to be a turning point.

At the same time, I was also providing a script editing service on Fiverr. Most of the jobs had involved spelling adjustments and making some notes.

That all changed when I got hired by a crazy guy.

Let me tell you about the crazy guy.

The crazy guy showed up saying that he just needed a quick editing job. It started inauspiciously, as these things often do. Then the red flags began to fly not long after that. He hired me on Friday and needed it done for Sunday. For an editing job, where you’re just doing spell checking that is fine.

Here’s the thing though, he wasn’t able to send me an editable document. That was worrisome. He was able to send me a photocopy of the script. That was useless because I wasn’t able to upload it to my screenwriting software.

The only way that I was going to get it finished on time was by typing out the whole script myself and editing as I go. The script was 20,000 words long. It took me 24 hours approx across the Friday, Saturday and Sunda to get the work finished.

The crazy guy kept saying that it wasn’t right.

He kept niggling with me. It was always about the alignment. He kept asking for specific sentences to appear at certain points of the page. I asked him to make a list of changes that he wanted and would do it the next day. Keep in mind that this whole time over the weekend he asks for updates on the progress. I keep asking for an editable document to which he replies that he will send one when he gets back in. The editable script is never sent. I’m firing on through with the typing and am enjoying the restrictions that I have.

Here’s the essence of that correspondence

Him: “On page three can you move the introduction of the character to the top.”

Me: “I’ll have to space things out a little more, you OK with that?”

Him: “It needs to be at the top.”

Me: Check your inbox.

Him: Got it. Page four could you change the semicolon to a comma.

Me: Yeah, look it’s late here, and I’m up early tomorrow/today. Read through the script and make a list of any further changes you want made and I’ll do that for you for free tomorrow. Hold off on sending it to this producer guy OK?

Him: I’m going to send it through to him now. Hope there aren’t any mistakes.

Me: Don’t send it, please. Read through the script and send me a list of the changes you want. I’ll speak to you tomorrow.

I go to sleep, wake up to the following message.

Him: YOU FUCKED ME! YOU FUCKED ME! YOU HAVE FUCKED ME! I sent the script through and then noticed that there are loads more that I want changed. This was my big chance, and you have fucked me.

Moral of the story: If you enter a relationship with someone and more than one red flag starts to fly, walk away.

In crazy guys defence, this was all my fault.

I saw the red flags, but I kept on sailing into the storm. I am thankful for the experience though as it gave me a unique insight into my own writing and writing in general. The experience got me fired up.

Length o’ things

The experience gave me a baseline on how long it would take to write a certain amount of words in a certain amount of time.

This lead to my development of what I called the Dublin system.

It takes me 24 hours of pure typing to write 20,000 words.

Therefore it would take 12 hours to write 10,000. 6 hours to write 5000, 3 to write 2500 and so on down the line.

You probably think that is slow that’s just fine. I’m not competing with you I’m competing with me, and now I’ve found a gauge by which to measure my writing speed.

For my and your future reference here’s

Kieran Majury’s rough guide to an average length of things.

Film script: 20k words

Play (One-hour length): 10k

200-page book: 60k words.

 

These are approximations, don’t treat them as gospel.

There’s a handy website called reading length that you should check out.

Screenwriting software Celtx has several blog posts about how elements of screenplays breakdown. They’re worth a read.

Dublin system

This helped me develop the Dublin system.

If you’re a writer how do you tackle a piece of writing?

I’m still working on the answer to that question. I’ve gone through various methods. Trying to get the mental images translated into words. It has happened with varying degrees of success.

I realised that what you might need to do is break the task down into smaller bits. I need to know roughly where I am going. If I don’t have a rough idea of what I’m doing, I tend to go off in massive tangents. The last thing I wrote without a set route went way off course.

I hated it, resented writing it as I went but I stuck it out, and once I finished it I never looked at it again. The script went so off course. I didn’t have a clear direction for it to go in so trying to restructure it wasn’t worth the hassle.

The Dublin system works me up to do a full draft on a project. You start with a low word count, like 320 words. Write a synopsis of what is going to happen through the course of the script. You then write 625 words adding more detail. Then 1250 words before doubling it to 2500 words before 5000 words.

If you’re like me and you’re writing a play, then the next step is the 10k word count.

Beware the Dublin system.

The Dublin system is good for getting out that initial draft. That first draft, like many a first draft, will be shit.

There are other factors that you need to take into consideration. Factors like structure and if you structure your script well, then the rewriting will be less of a head melt.

I mean it will still be head melt, but you’ll know what you need to do now.

At some point I’m going to talk about structure, but not here.

If you’re a writer, I hope that you found this useful. If you’re interested in writing, I hope that this helped declutter some of the myths that surround the craft.

Be warned that I’m no expert nor will I ever be one. If this helps you write easier, thank you for reading. If you read this and thought I was talking out my hoop also thank you.

Sometimes going the wrong way helps you see the right way that much better.

Ideas: How you can have more now

Ideas are odd. You think they come from one specific spot and you can just go there and “get” ideas.

You would think that would be foolproof, wouldn’t you?

Never underestimate the genius of fools.

It’s funny how you hear people ask the question, “Where do you get your ideas from?” The belief that ideas are friends who need to be picked up from the airport.

David Mamet had a pithy response when asked where does he get his ideas from, “I think of them”.

I look back at some of my old writing books from time to time. It’s insane how many ideas I had. It’s even more surprising that a small fraction of them weren’t downright terrible.

When you were young, you were full of energy and ready to take on the world. All ideas were valid, and everything was going to get done at some point. It was exhausting to be young.

Thank heavens for getting older.

When it comes to ideas, there is a hard pill to swallow. That pill is realising that you only have a certain amount of time to get things done.

You’re young, and your brain can’t stop ejaculating thoughts into your mind.

A production of the Trojan Women wherein the audience is taken prisoner during pre-show. An adaptation of The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch done as a horror. A buddy cop film that begins with the sequel. A fake spirit medium show that has actors in the audience and has demonic possession.

All these ideas, still kindle me with excitement but I know that in my heart they’ll just remain mental movies for me. It’s sad but inevitable.

You realise that not every sperm will become a baby.

I don’t know where I get my ideas but then how you think of ideas is wrong.

You don’t get ideas, they come to you.

An idea, rather than a friend you have to collect, is more a friend coming to visit.

How do you act when you know that a friend is coming to your house?

You prepare the house. You make sure it’s clean. Refreshments ready and you make sure that you are dressed. You don’t even have to put that much effort in the preparation. You can buy buns from the store, but if you want them to feel special, you make the buns yourself.

I like cooking for my friends. I hope that it entices them to come round again. They get to eat something that I have made, and I get to share in their company for an evening. It’s a good deal. Ideas are similar, you have to make it a welcoming environment.

You know what it’s like, it’s coming to the time that they said they would arrive and they’ve yet to visit. You hang about for a while longer whenever the thought hits you. There is something you could quickly do some sorting upstairs while you’re sitting around.

The moment you get started you know what happens?

That’s right, there’s a knock on the door.

That’s how you prepare yourself for ideas. You do everything you can to have the place ready, but in the end, the idea will arrive when it wants.

You almost have to give up on getting ideas.

Einstein worked at trying to figure out the theory of relativity. He gave up on it and only then did he realise what to do.

Think back to your friend arriving, do you ring them asking if they’re on their way. One call is fine but if you make any more than that you’re going to stir up resentment.

How can you improve the arrival rate of ideas?

You have to prepare your house for the arrival of ideas.

How do you go about doing that?

Like most things, the first step to getting what you want is asking.

Keep a notepad on you at all times. I’ve done this for many years. If something comes up, no matter how stupid I write it down. The idea isn’t the most important part it’s getting into the habit of welcoming the ideas.

Decluttering your mind helps ideas too.

There is a war for your attention going on. You’re at a disadvantage when you open your phone. A phone is necessarily a baby that’s useful and can fit in your pocket. As soon as it makes any kind of noise or movement there, you are to check on the device. Even if it doesn’ move or make a sound, you’ll still make sure that it’s OK.

Letting yourself be sucked in by your phone puts you in reactionary mode. If you want to generate ideas you got to do what you can to keep yourself in a blank state. This means that you need to avoid your phone for the first part of the day.

It’s not easy, believe me, I still struggle. My phone is almost part of me when it’s not nearby. It’s that phantom limb sensation. At least that’s what I think it would be like. If you steer clear of your phone for long enough, then you can engage in the next stage.

Free writing

Just take a page, time yourself for twenty minutes and just write. Don’t use a computer. You’ll be tempted to check in online. Worse you’ll always go back and forth deleting, rewriting, making sure that it’s just right. Don’t worry about that.

Use a pen and paper. Connect with the physical world. Start writing and do not stop. Write for twenty minutes, you should be able to do three hundred words. Take a ten-minute break do another twenty minutes. Another three hundred words and then read over your work. This won’t be an ideas generator, but it’ll help you realise how much more creative you are.

Do this exercise every morning. You’re telling your brain that ideas are right, you appreciate them and that you can keep sending them.

Do this, and you’ll realise that you have way more good ideas than you knew you had.

Star Wars videos you need to check out

Star Wars used to be all that I knew about film. Those films, Ghostbusters and the Spy Who Loved Me. They where the films that I enjoyed most as a kid and would watch them almost every weekend.

Why wasn’t I out playing when I was younger I hear you ask?

Simple, I didn’t have many friends.

Now I’m much older. I lived through the disappointment of the prequels. Now with a whole new spate of Star Wars films from the Disney corporation. It’s safe to say that I’m done with the franchise.

I knew I was done with it when I watched The Force Awakens. I saw Rogue One because everyone said it “Was pure class like”, it wasn’t. The Last Jedi was good in that it cured me once and for all with my fandom.

Where the Star Wars Prequels as bad as you thought?

You know, with the Disney Star Wars, my lack of interest, it got me thinking. Where the prequels as bad as all that.

To an extent, yes, as a work of storytelling, the Star Wars prequels aren’t good. The biggest problem that I have with the prequels aside from an overreliance on special effects is that tonally they’re all over the place. For every good aspect, the films have they have two bad ones as well.

Even Lucas was aware of the tone and pacing problems the film had.

The films are great on a technical level. The prequels helped pushed the envelope regarding technical innovation.

I wasn’t aware just how much the films pushed technology forward until this video showed up in my home feed.

When you watch this video, you realise that George Lucas did a lot to help bring filmmaking to where it is today.

Money for old hope

The tonal and pacing problems of the prequels aren’t new in Star Wars. Even before A New Hope, the issues were there. George was fortunate enough to be surrounded by a group of people who cared about him and the film. They cared enough to fight with him to make the movie better than the sum of it’s parts.

This video shows you how Star Wars was saved in the edit.

Would Star Wars be held up as a cinematic classic had it been released as Lucas had originally intended?

It’s debatable.

What always amazes me about behind the scenes on film is that films are even made in the first place. That they’re even let alone half decent is something else.

In the beginning

This documentary about the making of The Phantom Menace is also worth a look.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t watched it since I first got the DVD all those years ago. This is a fascinating insight into the making of the most anticipated film of all time.

It appeared everyone was aware that the film was going to suck. People valued their jobs more than the finished result.

The Unsung Hero

Gary Kurtz, the producer of A New Hope and The Empire, Strikes Back died last month. Kurtz is the unsung hero of the original trilogy. He left at the start of Return of the Jedi’s scripting phase. It’s a shame that he did because his story ideas sounded much better than what we got.

Here’s a link to an interview with him that is well worth a read.

Inspiration for filmmakers

There you have it. If you’re a filmmaker and you’re struggling it just goes to show that no one knows what they’re doing. Sometimes that leads to something magical, many times it doesn’t but hey,

Do or do not, there is no try.

When in doubt, cut to the droid.

Battle of the sexes 2.0

You may have noticed that there’s a Battle of the Sexes going on.

The first battle of the sexes happened in 1973 when 29 year old, world number one in tennis Billie Jean King beat the retired 50-year-old Bobby Riggs.

The victory was considered a great success for women’s equality.

Undoubtedly a much better result than that other time there was a tennis match between men and women.

Battle of the sexes 2.0

Believe women, battle of the sexes,
Emmett Till

The battle of the sexes has now moved into the political arena. You are seeing this with the Bret Kavanagh Supreme Court hearings. Christine Ford has accused him of groping her twenty years ago.

I haven’t watched all the hearings. From what I have seen one thing you can glean from Ford and Kavanagh is as follows: both of them are telling the truth.

Both of them are lying about certain aspects of their testimony. Ford lied about being afraid of flying. Kavanagh is more fond of a drink than he is letting on.

Do I believe lie about small things means lying about big things? No.

Ford believes that something happened to her. Kavanagh believes that she has mistaken him for someone else. Who is right? They both cried, do tears mean truth? No.

Certain aspects of how events have unfolded are irritating.

I don’t like that Ford went to the Democrats in confidence then at the first sign of trouble they publicised her name.

Her life is ruined now. She tried to do what she felt was the right thing and she was punished.

The Democrats betrayed her and objectified her, turning her into a political football. She got kicked around by both teams on the Senate while the world watched.

How would you feel now?

I don’t like how critics are saying that Kavanagh’s anger is revelatory of a darker side. If you put yourself in his position you can understand his anger.

Imagine yourself going for a job interview, it’s a job you want. It could be a promotion. You wake up early on the day, you beat your alarm.

You showered, and your clothes look good on you.

Have you lost weight? You ask yourself in the mirror because you’re looking trim. You keep telling yourself to stop smiling so much, people are going to think that you’re weird.

No matter how hard you try, a big old beamer keeps creeping onto your face.

There’s no traffic on the way in. You feel your heart pumping, old you would have called it nerves but new you calls it excitement.

You get to the place, and you make your way to the reception area, you’re early. Give your name in, and the man behind the desk says “Oh”.

You see the interview room on an elevated level. Three people in silhouette behind frosted glass.

That’s where you’re going.

The person in there at the moment stands and shakes hands with the panel. No matter how well they did, you’re going to do better. They’re ready to see you now. You make your way towards the boardroom, but instead, you’re ushered into a side room.

You’re told that this morning someone you used to go to school with phoned. They said that you stole money from them ten years ago.

There’s no way to prove that it did or did not happen but this person is adamant that it was you. You’re an honest person, you’ve been brought up right. You may not give to charity as much as you feel you should but you certainly do not steal.

You’re that there’s no evidence and at this point, there won’t ever be.

They know you’ve never been in trouble with the authorities before but they don’t want to take that risk. You’re not getting the job.

Oh and the company you’re interviewing for? They felt that it was their duty to call your friends and family. They told them not only are they not giving you the job but you’re a thief.

How do you feel?

I can’t speak on your behalf, but I would feel slightly miffed. I would be angry.

You need to stop saying that when a man is passionate about something he’s aggressive.

If you’re a woman reading this let’s make a deal. I’ll tell men not to use the word hysterical if you replace aggressive with passionate.

Lady OJ

This circus feels like there’s something more significant going on, doesn’t it? Ford and Kavanagh are avatars for their sexes.

In many ways, this is a sex version of the OJ Simpson trial. With the OJ trial, on one level it was about whether or not he was guilty but there was a subtext during that trial. That subtext is was, “You don’t like it up you, do you?”.

A version of that subtext is at play here. It’s not about whether or not Kavanagh groped Ford at some party, it’s “Let’s see how they like it.”

Shit testing

If you’re familiar with PUA (Pick up artist) vernacular, then you’ve probably heard the phrase “shit testing”.

Shit testing is when a woman gives a potential suitor a hard time to try and see what kind of person they are. If they can’t stand up to her then what chance do they have with outside threats?

If you’re a heterosexual male, who has been in a long-term relationship with a woman you’ll have noticed that the testing never stops. It takes various guises “I wish you wouldn’t use that word”, “I wish you’d not associate with that one particular friend” and you “You don’t need to work out as much”.

The one that I got over the course of two long-term relationships was “I’d feel more comfortable if you had a drink”. Silly me, I put their comfort over mine.

Now, you’re thinking that some women say these things out of genuine love and you’re right. However, certain women will test you just to see how far they can push it.

Both the sexes test the boundaries in relationships. Men will do it through bad behaviour whereas women will do it through control of behaviour. This isn’t an unfortunate aspect, it’s just the way of relationships. Like many neutral aspects of the world, it comes down to how it’s being welded?

Feminism of the first world

Feminism is no longer about the equal rights for women.

It began that way, but what have they left to achieve? Men and women in the western world are equal. Feminists would admit that they may have dropped the ball the further east you head. I’m going to focus on the western world here.

Feminism sees that it’s mainly men at the top of society and assumes that it is because of sexism. It’s not that power is held by a minority it’s that it is men.

Feminists want equality in the pleasant areas of life, like the boardroom. They’re getting equality in universities. In fact they’re getting so much equality in the universities maybe it’s time they started to ask for more men to be admitted.

Women outnumber men GPs too. It’ll only be a matter of time before they begin to populate the upper echelons of business. Will it be down to their own merit or because more and more men are checking out of society, we’ll never know for sure.

Despite all the gains that women have made, they still fall far behind when it comes to workplace mortality and prison sentences.

I don’t mind if you want the sweet life, we all do but don’t queef in my face and say it’s windy.

For a while now I stopped believing that people want equality or to end oppression.

They just want their turn cracking the whip.

Believe women

To kill a mockingbird used to be about injustice in the south. Now it’s considered progressive.

Believe women is something that comes up again and again. Belfast was subjected to “I believe her”, I didn’t know who I supposed to believe so I reserved judgment. Here’s the thing I don’t just believe people because I’m told. In fact being told that I have to believe someone just makes me cynical.

If you believe women that means you are incapable of seeing them as equal to men.

Here’s the thing, believe women is sexist.

Don’t put too much stock in belief. There are people out there who believe Jesus was American, B-52’s nuked volcanos to trap souls. There are even degenerates out there who believe the Earth is round.

Belief and truth are not siblings. They’re cousins who only see each other on birthdays.

Carolyn Bryant was believed

Women’s coalition

The Democrats have shifted to become the party for women.

Not that men aren’t allowed to vote for them, they’ll take their votes, but they aren’t as welcome as they once were. Many men are feeling unwelcome.

A woman tells all men to shut up she’s called a heroine, I tell one woman on the bus to quit her yammering and she’s still going on.

Don’t get me wrong, any club or organisation should be free to discriminate against whoever they want. Just don’t turn round and act shocked when people act in their own interest.

It has begun with white men but when you use expressions like “men need to shut up” you’re not just addressing white men.

You can see the shift in attitudes all the way from Kanye.

to other men.

Stress test

When Alan Grant first arrives in Jurassic Park, he checks out the raptor pen. He’s told by the warden that the Raptors keep testing the fence for weaknesses. When the power goes out, they find that weakness.

That’s what the Democrats are doing.

Democrats are stress testing the American system.

If they manage to get Kavanagh booted out or denied, then the tactic works.

If the tactic is successful, then it is in men’s best interest to retire from public life, or just never run for office ever again.

Who will lose in the battle of the sexes?

In the short term, it will be men. They’ll take a knock and go to ground, but they’ll come back from this.

Ultimately the losers will be women and poor people.

There’s even been a shift in behaviour in Washington that’s been going on since 2015. Women may find it a bit sexist but give a man a choice between being labelled a sexist or a sex offender, the choice is simple.

Women will find themselves welcome but uninvited.

Take me for example. I love working with women, especially in the creative sphere. What I love most about working with women is that they are open and receptive.

When I work with women, the subtext is always “How can we work together for the best possible outcome?”. With men, everything feels like I’m an idiot before the judge. Men take every statement as an argument. Rather than working with me I have to convince them why we do things a certain way.

One of the best projects I ever did was with a woman. It involved a press up championship and a ghost wife giving encouragement.

It was the best thing I ever did and now thanks to how things are going nothing like it will ever happen again.

Pictured: best thing ever

I’m working on a play at the minute. Part of the marketing is going to be that it is one of the first #metoo compliant productions. How are we going to ensure female safety? By excluding women from the production. When it comes to performance time, we are going to separate the men and women. The women will be seated to the rear of the theatre to keep an eye on the men in the audience.

As for other sufferers of the battle of the sexes? The poor?

When it comes to he said she said cases it tends to rely on who has the better legal team.

Prediction

The FBI has a week to investigate these decade-old claims. The Democrats have kept insisting on a week-long investigation. What’s a week they ask? What is a week indeed? In fact, what has any large government body achieved in a week?

This investigation will not yield anything concrete.

The Democrats want to delay this until the midterms are over. I don’t know why they feel it’s essential. They’ve been wrong about much over the last three years, I don’t see them getting this right.

The investigation will be like The Life of Brian, “We found a spoon” this spoon will be used as a means of delaying. If the Republicans have any wit, they’ll insist that they have been gracious. They postponed proceedings by a week which the Democrats requested.

There is a part of me that is curious to see what happens if Kavanagh doesn’t get in. Would it lead to Republicans going to the polls in record numbers?

Would it lead to an outbreak of democracy in America?

Long-term ramifications of Kavanagh not getting in?

It would lead to everyone from here on out getting accused of something they may or may not have done decades ago.

Ethics don’t exist. You and I are becoming more tribal. We’re cavemen, I’m sorry cavepersons with smartphones.

You and I like to believe that we’re sophisticated and unbiased but we’re not.

I’m biased, so are you.

I’m done with the West, it’s still the best of a bad bunch, it’s time to break ourselves out of the stagnation.

The best way to rebuild the temple is to tear down the old one.

Whatever happens from this Christine Ford and Bret Kavanagh’s reputations are in ruins.

Hey, don’t worry they’re necessary casualties in the battle of the sexes.

Uncanny Valley: A definition

You may have heard of the term uncanny valley.

In this post, I want to get you to understand the meaning of uncanny valley. I also want to expand the definition. With everything going on in the world today it’s fair to say that the term is only going to become more applicable.

Polar Express and the uncanny valley

Robert Zemeckis film The Polar Express might be when you became aware of the term “Uncanny Valley”.

Kill it with fire

To be honest, it was that scene from 30 Rock. The one where Frank uses The Polar Express to explain the uncanny valley to Tracey.

The uncanny valley is something that looks like the real deal yet there’s something not quite right. It’s that inability to define what it is that is wrong that gives us that creep out feeling.

The Polar Express had an unsettling effect with it’s at the time cutting-edge CGI. There were people in the audience who found the whole thing troubling. Something was missing. There was a dull deadness behind the characters eyes that some found off-putting.

That’s when you know you’re in the uncanny valley.

The uncanny valley is a term that has been used mainly about computer graphics. The idea can go further.

The Shining and Freud.

What about the word uncanny, what does it mean?

Well, obviously, it’s the opposite of canny, duh.

I did a dissertation on The Shining and what was it that made it a perfect horror film. Spoiler alert the essay was terrible, and I’m going to summarise it here.

The Shining is such a good horror film because it epitomises that emotion. The feeling of being unsettled through use of the uncanny.

Freud defined the uncanny, and I’m summarising for the sake of swiftness here. The uncanny is the idea of the doppelganger, the double, your dark shadow.

Next time that you watch The Shining keep an eye out for the use of doubles. There are the twins, most obviously, but it goes further than that. There is the two caretakers, the two Jacks, the two Dannys, the use of mirrors, young lady/old lady. The list goes on, you get the idea.

“What has this got to do with me?” I hear you ask on the other side of the screen.

Let me tell you.

The Uncanny Valley in our day to day lives

You might think that the uncanny valley only occurs on a screen, the truth is it doesn’t.

Think of a robot, imagine in your mind’s eye, a robot. You’re probably thinking about something that is humanoid in shape that has the wires and all.

Now imagine a woman. For some of you reading this you may find it more manageable. Just imagine a human woman. For those of you struggling here you go.

What I like most about photos is that they are silent

Now watch this.

Unnerving isn’t it?

It’s too close for comfort. Something that is similar to us will have its differences more pronounced. Those differences are what repulse us.

I love doing impressions. I do a good Jimmy Stewart and created the Eisenberg Scale which is one voice in different pitches. It ranges from Kermit, the Frog at the top. It then goes through Jordan Peterson to George Lucas, Jesse Eisenberg in the middle. Harold Ramis all the way down to Ray Romano at the bottom.

I used to be able to do impressions of those around me, but something strange happened. The closer and more accurate the impression was, the less comfortable the subject. So I stopped doing accurate impressions of people. They became ridiculous and overblown. People could say “I don’t sound like that” and feel the impression was nothing like them. If I do an impression of you and it’s nothing like you it’s because your comfort is important to me. If I do an accurate impression of you, never mind.

It’s probably why some people don’t like photos of themselves. It’s how they look, and they don’t like that.

Where are you going with this Kieran, get to the point.

Ok.

People you dislike, you’re more like them than you care to let on.

That’s what I’m trying to tell you.

I don’t mind if you disagree but think about a person you don’t get on with.

Even the expression “They get under my skin”. How can someone do that?

There was a guy I didn’t get on with. He was lackadaisical. He was never organised, always late and thought the world revolved around him.

Hold on was I describing him or myself?

Once I realised that it made what I had to do all the more clear.

I had to become unlike him to get on with him better.

From then on I started to plan ahead and organise myself better. I did what I could to be more punctual. I did my best to acknowledge that I was more a Judy than a Punch.

This person and I will never be best friends, but I now consider him an acquaintance.

If you find yourself disliking someone, look for ways in which your similar. You don’t hate the person you just see aspects of yourself in them, and it leads to that uncanny valley effect.

You see that in society as well. Working class white people are more likely to blame other working class ethnicities. They blame others rather than themselves for their misfortune.

Even political parties are more similar than they are different.

Big societal issues are divisive because both sides are closer to agreement than they are apart. It’s just the details. No one thinks that school shootings are a good thing, it’s how do we prevent them in future is where the arguments start.

All the main religions are agreed that there is an afterlife. The question is not, does the destination exist, it’s, how do we get there?

I’ll be using the term uncanny valley more often on this site. I want to make sure that you know where my heads at when I use the phrase.

Louis C.K: A return

Louis article, a failed audition

Louis C.K was the subject of an article I did as an audition piece for a satire site. They politely passed, so I decided to share it with you here, enjoy.

Louis C.K audience annoyed he didn’t masturbate in front of them.

Louis C.K returned to stand up in New York much to the delight of some of his fans. However, there were some in the audience who felt that the 50-year-old comedian came up short.

We spoke to some of those in attendance.

“I wasn’t expecting much that night. I heard rumours that Louis was about, I thought he just came to watch. Boy was I wrong.” said one audience member, “I’d never seen Louis’ act before. I mean I’d seen him do stand up, but I was excited for this.”

“When Louis got on stage, I thought, aw yeah, this is it,” said another audience member. That elation soon turned to disappointment, “I was pumped to see him perform, but then he started telling jokes, lame.”

Other audience members were also confused, “He showed up unannounced, it was such a surprise. My husband and I are thinking, no way, we’re going to see a short fat guy masturbate. One time we watched Danny DeVito taking a piss in Central Park but this would be much better, or so we thought”.

The disgruntled attendee went on, “We thought that it would be a build up, a few jokes and then he would start but as he went on we realised that it wasn’t going be the case. My husband was devastated, he was like a child who didn’t get what he wanted for Christmas. Imagine not getting to see Santa masturbate”.

Someone in the front row also expressed sadness at the comedian’s half-cocked return. “I was sitting there watching his crotch intently. Not only did his penis stay in his pants the whole time but he was flaccid too. There may have been signs of life at one point, but it could have been how his jeans bunched up.”

A Louis veteran spoke up

One veteran of the New York comedy circuit still holds out hope, “I knew Louis was going to crack wise instead of cracking one off on his first time back. You got to give him room to blossom. At the minute he’s shy but give him time, and everyone will know what’s Louis’ Louis looks like. They’re going to add a D.I to his initials.”.

When asked to divulge more information the comic, who wished to remain anonymous went on “When he first started out it was his party trick. Some people could juggle, some did impressions. Louis could crank one out like nobodies business, beautiful. He’s the YoYo Ma of jerking off. It was like Louis, and the cock are one. His penis was an extension of himself, and soon he is going to extend his dick for all to see”.

Last Jedi Cured me of my Star Wars Fandom

Last Jedi came out in December and debate still rages on.

Last Jedi has lead to many many videos arguing for and against how good the film is.

I went to see it with a friend, and as soon as it was over, I felt no need ever to watch another Star Wars film again. Don’t get me wrong, as a kid, I loved Star Wars. I remember when they were brought back to the cinema in the late 90s. It was great. I would watch the special editions every weekend on VHS.

Then the prequels came out, and I didn’t think they were right. I know there are some who say Revenge of the Sith was good, but it wasn’t. It made me fed up with lightsabres.

Then the Force Awakens came out, and I gave it a chance and I really really didn’t like it.

All my problems aside from the coincidence cluster bomb that happened halfway through. It was like a fanfiction rewrite of a New Hope.

When The Last Jedi came out, I left it for a while. When I went to see it, I realised that it was the final nail in the coffin for my love of Star Wars.

Here are a few reasons why.

Last Jedi is lather rinse repeat.

Last Jedi hammered home to me how limited the Star Wars universe is, and that won’t change.

Looking back we have had ten Star Wars films. Four of them have had a Death star central to the plot, and another two have featured a Death Star.

60% of all Star Wars films feature a Death Star.

There has been no progress. There was the initial trilogy which was new and exciting. I’ll go so far as to say that Return of the Jedi is unsatisfying. If you want me to do a follow up on why ROTJ is trash, post a comment below.

The prequel trilogy set up the original. It was filling in the gaps that people may have been curious about. Having seen them maybe leaving it mysterious would have been better.

This new trilogy is just the same as the original. There is no progress. It’s just the same old same old, and I already have that with the original trilogy.

Thanks but no thanks.

If it is agenda driven, it’s a terrible agenda.

You have probably seen the accusations aimed at The Last Jedi for pushing a feminist agenda. If that is the case, then it is one of the worst arguments for women in power that I’ve ever seen. At the hands of Leia and Holdo, the Republic/rebellion (seriously, which is it?) is reduced to about twenty people. The ending seems like an odd joke “We have everything we need right here”. The females come across as maliciously incompetent. The male characters are dumb.

Admiral Holdo is passive aggressive to the point where she gets everyone killed. Her reason? She doesn’t want to tell anyone about her plan. There is no reason for not telling anyone, she is not revealed to be an enemy agent or a power-mad leader, no, it’s just spite.

Leia has a go at ace fighter pilot Poe Dameron for using violence to solve everything. Even though it has been that violence that has saved them.

Rose Tico gets derided for stopping Finn from making a heroic sacrifice. Only for her to lecture him about fighting for the things you love. All while the resistance base’s shield gets blown up. I laughed when I first saw it. Looking back it completely undercuts the lessons that she was trying to teach. The two are at odds when she stops him from trying to run away.

It had me potentially interested.

What frustrated me was that there were some interesting angles brought up in The Last Jedi. Such as the war economy, which side is worse than the other. If the world building was more transparent. If it was the New Republic hunting down the Imperial Remnant down to extinction. Then it would have been even more interesting. Of course, the whole idea is immediately brushed aside.

“The smart thing to do is not to join.”

“You’re wrong”, that’s it, that’s the argument.

Modern Disney has a problem with this in general. They give some of their best arguments to their villains. In Avenger’s Assemble Loki tells a group of people that humans love being subjugated. This is an exciting idea. How does the film end this topic, Captain America shows up and starts punching him.

If you want your audience to not side with the villain, have the hero prove him wrong through actions. Don’t just have them tell the villain to shut up.

Anyway, the other exciting idea that was brought up is the whole light v dark side. That culminates with Kylo offering a hand to Rey. The movie should have ended there. The entire idea of them moving away from the light v dark was genuinely interesting. Kylo is wanting to let go of the past. Instead, they go “No wait, let’s just start fighting again”. It was wasted potential.

It hammered home that no matter how intriguing the concepts might be Disney is always going to play it safe. Play it boring.

Two movies in and no world building

Is it so sorry that you want to know what state the world of the characters is in?

But Kieran it’s Star Wars.

This is shared the blame for both JJ Abrams and Rian Johnson. You and I are two movies into this new trilogy, and there has been no world building. I don’t know about you, but I don’t understand why things are happening in these films.

What was the system that was destroyed in TFA, was it essential? It doesn’t seem to be. What state is the Republic in? Why do they use Resistance and Rebels interchangeably? Did they become government and then get deposed straight away? How did the New Order become even more powerful than the Empire?

No sense of scale

You may get it, but the Star Wars galaxy has no sense of scale. It feels like a ghost galaxy. Aside from Cantobite which seems to be profiting from the war. There are only a few people on each of these ships so how lucrative can it be? It feels like each reveals in these new films raises more question than they answer.

I doubt that they are going to make amends in the third film. Even if they do, it’s too late. You never know what state the galaxy is in which is necessary if you want me to get an idea of steaks.

I can’t believe that I am going to say this, but at least in the prequels, there was a sense of the world and what was on the line. I can’t believe that I am referring to the prequels as a positive example.

Units of measurement

This one was the big one for me, and to you, it might be nitpicky but here goes.

This was the first Star Wars film that ever started going on about fuel. Fuel has never been an issue in any of the previous Star Wars films, and now they won’t shut up about it. That wasn’t the worst thing. It was, far I’ve only seen the movie the once and that was back in January so I may be getting the quote wrong. The bad guy says something to the effect of “Thy only have two hours of fuel left”.

Did you catch that?

Look again.

Two hours?

Hours?

This was more world breaking than hyper driving into the baddies.

Do you get why that is annoying?

Hours are unique to Earth, as in our planet Earth. A rotation takes 24 hours a lap of the sun takes 365 days. How many worlds out there that have that exact same set up as we do? You don’t even get that in our solar system.

But Kieran do you have a problem with them speaking English or looking like Humans. Yeah, that’s a fair point. There is a concept in any fiction writing called a willing suspension of disbelief. You know when you’re taking in a work of fiction that it’s not going to be 100% realistic. There are certain things that the creator must do such as not set up a rule and then break it. One of the standards set up by Star Wars is that it is a long time ago in a galaxy far away.

What I am trying to say is that references to measurements remind me of Earth. Telling me of Earth breaks the suspension of disbelief. If they said they would arrive at some place mid-August, it would have the same effect. August is named after the Roman Emperor Augustus. Apparently, they don’t do that so don’t do that with units of measurement.

The English language is called Basic. Why couldn’t they have renamed the units of time, the standard cycle would be alright.

Am I nuts?

I’m getting tangled up in myself here.

In essence, don’t make me think of my own planet when I’m trying to enjoy escapist nonsense.