Inspirations for writers through others writers experiences

Another week, another assignment for The Future Of Storytelling course i talked about here.

This time they asked us to talk about 2-3 books, movies or other stuff that struck us with inspiration and maybe planted some seeds in making us want to be a writer. We had to make a video about it but for now I have no access to a camera, so I just wrote it. If I can get my hands on some device I’ll make the video in the future. Meanwhile you cane read the assignment below. Hope you find it interesting.

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HELLO! I am Davide, from Italy.

 This are my 3 choices about books and stuff that I find really interesting on telling stories.

FIRST DRAFT IS JUST THE BEGINNING

Rewrites-Neil-Simon

Rewrites, the autobiography by Neil Simon, one of the most successful playwright ever.

Maybe you are asking yourself “Well, pal, I am no playwright, so…?”. So, my fellow enthusiast about storytelling I can assure that you can find a lot of insight on how to tell a story besides the genre and the medium of your personal choice. Simon knows how to pass his knowledge not in a how-to-istic or academic way, but narrating his life, his body of works and what the life of a storyteller looks and feels like. A lot of anecdotes about the craft but a lot of little gems about his personal life and family business, too. You want to read about a man that rewrote at least 20 times a single play, from scratch to finished? That’s your book. He made me smile, laugh and gave me a little water in the eyes here and there.

 AND NOW LET’S GO TO THE WILDER SIDEGene Wilder Kiss Me Like A Stranger

 Sorry for the horrible pun. The second book I press you to read is the autobiography by Gene Wilder, Kiss me like a stranger.

“But, my handsome compadre in the field of making up stories, his an actor, so…?” So yes, indeed he is. But is also a fine storyteller. I mean, he created Young Frankenstein, and had an heavy hand in modeling the film version of Willy Wonka, putting on the screen one of the best character ever. And you can discover a lot about his storyteller side in this brief book, with a lot more about his personal life. Again its a wonderful blending of laugh, tears and interesting little sparks of inspiration about the art of storytelling and the life of someone who choose to tell stories for a living. You can find why improvisation is useful but it’s not what a lot people think it is. Or why and how you should watch and disassemble a movie if you want to direct or write one. And how a writer can find something funny in the cancer that is devouring his deeply loved wife. So if you like the man, you’ll love the book. And if you don’t like him I think you should give the book a shot anyway, maybe you can find something worth your time.

AND NOW LET’S MAKE IT FUNNY

talking_funny_tv_show_posterThe third choice is, for me, a recent one but it struck a couple of deep chords in me. It’s a 50ish minutes conversation called Talking Funny, a tv special made by HBO in which four comedian talk, well, about comedy. Louis CK, Jerry Seinfield, Chris Tucker and Ricky Gervais learn about each others skills and skits in a fun and relaxed way. If you like comedy, if you want to write or perform comedy, i’m sure you’ll find something you can use or just enjoy.

“Yeah, ol’ chap but me I’m about drama and pulp and drama-pulp-dragons, so…?” Well i can see your concern but I think some of the points raised in this piece are helpful for every genre and every kind of writer. This poker of comedians ponder about things like the right timing or the right beat in a sentence. And why a certain word works better than other? There are some argument, motif or topic that we, as writers, cannot use in our works? And what is the most grueling fear a comedian must conquer? Sure, the point of view is the comedy one, but this and others are all ideas worth thinking about besides genre, I think. And you can watch it on Youtube, right here:

AND THAT’S ALL!

I hope you’ll find this informative and that you’ll give this 3 pieces of inspiration a try. Bye!

Annunci

The future of storytelling – Assignment 002 – A character profile

New assignment, new post for all my dear followers. This time I have to fill a profile about a character from tv show. To be honest I have, maybe, cheat a little because I chose The Undertaker. I know, i know, he is a wrestler. But.

But professional wrestling is scripted, and Undertaker he’s on tv since 1990. He did a lot of things since then, he fought everybody on the roster (or should I say the cast?), he discovered he has a brother, he tried to kill said brother and then became a tag team champion with him. He has been at the head of a cult, he became a biker and than he went back to his roots of darkness and undead. Every once in a while his history undergoes a ret-con.

To me that’s a fictional characters. So, I give you my assignment below.

evolution_of_undertaker_by_hopeless_romance45-d69yp6z

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He’s tall. I mean, i am like 6,2 but i need to rise my gaze to watch him in the eyes, if i can keep myself together. Because this man is not a normal man. I’m not sure if he is a man at all. They buried him alive. And not once.

Sure, when you look at him you can see someone that exudes strength, confidence and a relentless will of survive. But can you really call “man” someone who can summon darkness at will? It is mortal what can come back from the dead more than once? I cannot say for sure.

If he is mortal, he is a really special specimen of a man who surround himself with people of a peculiar kind. A father figure in a shape of a funeral parlor director. A brother who can control fire, mentally unstable and forgotten for a long time.

A strange kind of rugged relative that, as far as i can see, he never know if he can trust or not. Best of allies, worst of enemies. His brother tried to kill him a lot of times. And he himself drowned is “father” in concrete. But they are linked in a profound and twisted and unbreakable way. When “father” died, he gave him his respect and he bowed before him. Some made fun of all of this. A mistake.

Because he’s a prod man. A man that never back down from a fight. A man that put on his uniform, lace his gloves and took a beating if it’s the right thing he feels to do. He fights for himself, mostly. He fights for the darkness. He fights for whatever forces drive him, something deep inside that he know how to handle and take at bay. But not every time.

This is a man, if he is a man, that endure an incredible amount of pain week after week, month after mont, year after year. Because he believe in what he does and he care in doing it right at his terms.

A troubled man, maybe, but someone who know always what he want and does not stop till he gets it.

Name: The Undertaker

Nickname: The Phenom

TV Series, this character is in: Mondany night RAW, Friday Night SMACKDOWN

The Future of Storytelling – Assignment 001 – A story you know its always right with you

If i have to choose a story*, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is the real deal for me, the Gene Wilder’s version.

Maylin Manson cant hold a candle to my tun

A poor child by the name Charlie is struck by luck: he wins the golden ticket for a ride in the Chocolate Factory. And he can go with his grandpa, too! The factory is full of wonders, sweet sweet wonders that you can taste as you wish. But there is a ruler in this factory. A man you cannot trust, but a man with a strong belief in what is right and what is wrong. So when this man, Wonka, walk Charlie and the others winners trough the factory, warn them about the rules and put them on test, no one is safe. Because the trials are subtle: no one knows when a choice is the one that make or ruin their quest among candies. So one by one all the kids go down the drain, some literally. Because they choose the wrong path in the factory, because their parents choose the wrong path when they raise them. Charlie thinks that he’s the one, the chosen, the winner but no: Wonka knows best and say that Charlie, too, broke the rules. And Charlie knows its true. But he also knows whats right and show this to Wonka. And thats the real win. For Charlie, for his grandpa, and for Wonka.

And for me. I won one of the best movie and the best story that i ever witnessed in my life. I was probably 8 when i watched it for the first time on television. It was christmas. I don’t know why, and it became a little joke here in Italy, but every year during christmas time, Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory is on tv. With The Blues Brothers, and Trading Places. So, to me, is also strongly connected with christmas and family feelings, no school, a lot of free time with friends and so on. But personal anecdotes asides, i like so much the movie for a couple of reasons. For one thing, it takes no sugarcoating the punishment of the kids the misbehave: every child that broke the rules, deserve his upcommance no matter how cruel and (probably) painful is. Maybe its a little too black-and-white in his morals, but i think works wonderful in making its point about education and parenting.

Then there is Gene Wilder, one of my favorite actor. When i was a kid i did not know it, but it was Wilder that made some of the best character development about Wonka, forging one of the best villains or maybe dark mentor of all time. You know the scene when he appear for the first time before us, the viewers, and the characters in the movie: he made a fool of them all mimicking a limp when in reality is agile like an acrobat. So, that’s the moment when Wonka make his silent statement: you cannot know when I lies and when I don’t.

Can you imagine a thriller with Gene Wilder?

This ambiguity run trough the whole movie, making what the characters see inside the factory something beautiful, outstanding, unexpected and a little eerie. They know that what they see cant really be possible and real, but it is nonetheless real, tangible and edible. But with so much wonder there is an unsetting sense of danger in the air, made evident with the ride trough the tunnel and the fate that almost all the kids endure along the ride.

As a kid and later a teenager and now an adult, this is a movie that work on many levels and can deliver a blend of atmospheres like little others. It make you laugh, it make you chill, it make you crave candies, it make you think. For me as a writer in training, its something to enjoy, admire, watch for pleasure and study as a way, maybe, to became a little better in my work.

So this is it some reasons because i am 33 years old and i watch it every christmas, no matter what. And every time it deliver.