Video Games and Me

I’m not a gamer.  I’d love to be, but I’m not.  I simply do not have the kills-things-with-gun, gene.  I don’t have the make-the-character-walk-in-a-straight-line ability.

Way back in another lifetime, (I’ve been married for seven years and we dated for almost five before we got married- you do the math) I dated a guy who was a big gamer.  I might have been the only girlfriend in history who greatly enjoyed it.  I loved watching him play and longed to be a part of it.

Fast forward 13 years (okay fine, I did the math for you) I still want to be that gamer.  I’m currently trying to convince said husband that we really do need to by an Xbox 360.  Ya-huh!  I totally will play with it!  Na-uh!  I will not get bored with it after a week!

I’ll keep you posted on my persuasiveness.  I mean, seriously, being a gamer would make me that much geekier!

This was the only ‘real’ video game I was ever actually able to play.  (Full disclosure: It took me two years to make it about halfway through the game…and I was totally proud of myself).

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Titles

Titles are a bitch.

I finally finished the first draft of my spec script, but now I’m stuck for a title.  I have five titles in the running, but without actually reading the script they would make no sense to you.  Plus if you look up the titles for Big Bang episodes, they are very specific.  They all start with ‘the’, then some word or words that popped out during the episode, then a scientific sounding word.  (Full disclosure: one or two might not follow this formula but if I’m doing a spec I better go with what is typically used, yes?)

The problem with titles is that they force you, in five words or less, to give a tiny preview to your story and sound catchy.  I think if you can write a good title, you can write a good story.  (Which means I’m having serious doubts about the brilliance of my story).

But when you find the right title, it’s like putting that last piece into a jigsaw puzzle.  That feeling of relief mixed with satisfaction.

And for those of you who just couldn’t stand the suspense :

  1. The Dead Biologist Equation
  2. The Gift Reciprocation Resistance
  3. The La Coquete de Monde Force
  4. The Incorrect Emotion Acceleration
  5. The Eight-Seven Dollar Attraction

My Favorite Geek

The next selection in the My Favorite Geek series is a special one for me.  He’s the reason I started calling myself a geek aloud.  Within earshot of other people.  He not only made it okay to be different, he encouraged it.  He created a safe space for geeks (and in his words, nerds) to happily coexist.  I am forever in his debt.  Ladies and gentlemen, the smashingly brilliant:

Mr. Chris Hardwick

http://www.nerdist.com/

For my non geeky readers (i.e. my husband), Chris Hardwick has done more good to the nerd name in the past five years than we could have ever dreamed.  We live in a time when it’s almost cool, to be a geek.  And if it’s not full-on cool, it’s at least socially acceptable.  And I know a big part of that is because of Chris.

A quick rundown of the more notable geek related Chris Hardwick ventures: The Nerdist Podcast, Hard ‘n Phirm (musical comedy duo), host of Web Soup (which he also writes for), host of The Talking Dead, writer for Wired, ComiCon panel moderator and stand up comedian, who runs the Nerdist Theater.

And those are only the things he’s doing currently.  He’s a busy, busy nerd.

I admit, I was originally drawn to him because he was a voracious Whovian. (Full disclosure: If you tell me you watch Doctor Who, I will immediately follow you around like a lost puppy- or since I am a non animal lover, I suppose I will follow you around like a rain cloud on bad day).  I soon became a loyal podcast listener anxiously awaiting my bi-weekly fix.

If you aren’t familiar with Chris Hardwick, I encourage you to check out the Nerdist Podcast.  It’s free on iTunes.  Pick one with a guest you enjoy (there are TONS of awesome guest to choose from: Will Wheaton, David Tennant, Matt Smith, Patton Oswalt, JJ Abrams and Dave Attell, just to name a few) or check out a hostful episode, where it’s just Chris and his two co-hosts, Matt Mirah and Jonah Ray.  Personally, the hostful episodes are my favorites.  I love to listen to them just geek about stupid stuff for an hour.

And if my husband is reading this: There is a live Nerdist Podcast in Philly on March 23rd.  You never know what to get me for Valentine’s Day.

Books

Books.  They are everywhere.  Most people read them.  But for whatever reason, people who read have tended to be branded with the mark of the geek.

Is it because people who read tend to be seen as loners?  I certainly was.  Is it because people who read tend to look for escape?  I certainly did.  Is it because people who read tend to want to consume more knowledge?  I certainly did.

Reading seems to be more socially acceptable today than it did twenty years ago.  Or it just might seem that way since I know myself better and care less what people think of me, but I really think it’s the former.

And I hate to say it, but I really think reading became popular when every book that was every published started getting turned into movies.  It became cool to say, “I read the book long before they made a movie out of it,” and “Oh, the book was so much better.”  These are the kind of things I used to get punched in the face for saying (okay not really, but I did get ignored and kind of became a social pariah).

A part of me is glad.  As a lifelong reader and lover of books, I used to long for someone to discuss stories with.  I was never able to find anyone (expect maybe my librarian- yes she was mine) to talk to about the characters that I loved and someday hoped to emulate.

A (big) part of me is jealous.  Books were my special friends.  I had them first.  They were my sanctuary.  No matter how bad the world outside was, books could always soothe me.

It is, I think, a very geeky thing to love something fiercely and then when other people realize how great it is (and it ultimately becomes popular) become upset with them for not realizing its amazingness sooner.  We argue with people and tell them they aren’t true fans of whatever geeky thing we love because they weren’t fans from the beginning.

I think at our core, we just want to be accepted.  And whatever our geeky thing is, it gets us.  But we don’t get these ‘popular’ people who are now taking our beloved things (in this case, books).  We don’t want to be associated with these people who have, for so long made fun of us, for the very thing they are now claiming to love.

At the end of the day, I want people to buy more books (but it’s mostly for selfish reasons- I don’t want them to start only putting books out on eReaders).  But I don’t want them to buy my books.

Let them keep buying Jennifer Weiner, Danielle Steel and Jodi Picoult (Full disclosure: I’ve never read anything by any of these authors.  But I don’t want to either.  And with so many books out there, I want to read, I’ll leave these alone).

FYI: Sorry I know this post is a little rambly but that’s how I felt writing it so I didn’t want to edit it too much.

Canceled Too Soon:Terriers

I spoke earlier of shows that got canceled too soon.  This is my first in a series of posts: Canceled Too Soon. (Full disclosure: Titles are not my strong point).

I’m going to kick this series off with Terriers.  I was one of my personal favorites that got canceled waaaay too soon last year. (It was actually December of 2010.)

Terriers was a show starring Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James in an unlicensed private detective agency.  And it was fabulously brilliant.  I tried and tried to get people to watch this show, but it was (obviously) to no avail.  Terriers had the most beautiful subtle charm about it.  Which, unfortunately, I think was its downfall.  No one (expect me apparently) wants subtle anymore.  America needs everything to be in your face and aggressive at all times.

These characters were written beautifully.  It felt as if they could be actual people.  They were flawed and real.  Donal Logue is a hell of an actor, but thanks to Grounded for Life, people tend to throw his acting chops aside.

Terriers is currently streaming on Netflix.  If you haven’t given this show a look before, I implore you to do so now.  It’s not super sexy or super stylized.  It doesn’t have slick fight scenes or vampires.  But it was an amazing story and incredible writing to pull it off.

Sherlock

I almost caved last night.  I sat with Sherlock sitting on the TV with the little Wii hand poised above the play button.  I don’t know what I’m waiting for.  I’m not watching this show, that I am dying to watch, because someday (probably soon) it will end (so I guess I do know what I’m waiting for.)  I’ve been hoarding it like food in a nuclear shelter.  I want to make sure it’s still there when I feel I need it the most.  Maybe after a big fight with a friend.  Or a particularly crappy day of writing.  Or when I don’t have other shows I’m watching to keep me company.

Now that I’ve beat it, I’m glad I put it off because a) I was incredibly tired last night- I don’t sleep well (I actually don’t think I know any writers who do) and b) when I woke up this morning I decided it was going to be my reward.

The first season in three episodes (Oh BBC, how you mock me!) I’ve decided I’ll watch the first episode for the day I send out my spec (I’m going to use the Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship http://www.nickwriting.com/home/  because ABC wants a bunch of recs of entertainment industry type folks which I have zero way of getting), the second when I finish the first draft of my pilot and the third when I finish the pilot.  I hope the time line will go something like this:

  1. Episode 1: February 17th
  2. Episode 2: March 1st
  3. Episode 3: April 1st

Now that is my proposed time like.  The actual will probably be similar to:

  1. Episode 1: February 17th
  2. Episode 2: February 17th
  3. Episode 3: February 17th

I’m relatively good at the waiting, but once I break the seal, there is no going back.  I can resist the bag of cookies for a month, but once I open them, I must eat the whole bag.

 

MIA

Yesterday I was MIA.  I took a complete and total mental health day.

I spent the day watching the first season of Downton Abbey.  I know I’m late to this party, but it was totally worth the wait!  I also watched the first episode of season 2 (which was an hour and 52 minutes!) and I’m completely hooked.  I’m typing this quickly and in haste so I can rush to episode 2.

So I told you I’ve been working on my first spec script.  Which if you’ve ever written one you know (or maybe it’s just me, I tend to be a bit batty- as geeks and writers tend to be) watching TV is different now.  Sure I still enjoy the story and the characters, but I’m watching for other things now.  When does the scene change?  How long is the first act? How many characters are in each scene?  Which character’s story leads the episode?

After watching 7 plus hours of Downton Abbey yesterday, I’m really, really glad I prefer to write comedy.  I love this show and the writers are ridiculously talented, but I have no desire to have to write an hour of drama each week (Full disclosure: Assuming by some miraculous twist of fate and luck I was to actually get offered a job writing for a drama on TV, you can be certain I’d take all that back and sign on.)

So that made me wonder, if anyone reading this plans to (or already does) write for TV, what do you want to write?  I’d like comedy (spec is for Big Bang and I might do a Todd Margaret one just for fun) and I have an original pilot that’s sci-fi that I’ve been working on.

I’d love to hear what other geeky writers (or non-geeky writers, I try not to discriminate) are working on.