Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Quick Update

Moving house this weekend (BOXXXXES!!!!) which has stalled work on a comprehensive treatment for The Limit - frustrating. OTOH, I sent in a feature film synopsis to a production company today - and continue to mull over the backstory for my computer game.

Joan of Arcadia - tonight, 7.30.
Thursday night is packed with a pilot (Between the Sheets), NYPD 24/7, the return of The Shield (awesome!) and The Practice.
Then on Friday, .... did I mention that I may be starting to like The Days? Tru Calling follows up its bloody obvious plot twist with a confrontation with Tru's mum's killer ... and I'm expecting Smallville to sink back to its normal self after the excellence of the last 2 weeks.

Monday, November 29, 2004

[Film] Sunset subtext

There are at least two types of subtext in Before Sunset. First, we have to guess how Jesse and Celine feel about each other from their conversation and body language. Second, they are withholding major pieces of personal information from each other. The script's Turning Points rely on significant pieces of backstory that the characters are aware of - but we are not.

To illustrate those Turning Points, I've broken Before Sunset into 3 Acts:

During Act 1, Jesse promotes his book and reunites with Celine. Turning Point 1 occurs when Celine asks Jesse if he showed up in Vienna.

Act 2 is the meat of their conversation and growing sexual attraction - with a Mid-point (possibly) when Celine reveals that she knows about Jesse's home life.

Turning Point 2 could start when Jesse reveals why he wrote his book or it could start in the car when Celine begins to break down, ... Anyway, it initiates a growing emotional intensity in Act 3.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

[Film] Comparing Sunrise and Sunset.

Shouldn’t Before Sunrise and Before Sunset have a similar feel? Both films have a couple strolling through a European city learning about each other’s thoughts, feelings, philosophies on life – and their attitudes towards love. Well, there are some fundamental differences between the two.

First, the first film can stand alone – while I only think about Before Sunset as a companion piece, to compare against Before Sunrise.

Secondly, Sunrise takes place over one night while Sunset is set in (basically) real time – about 70 minutes of their lives as they meet for the first time in 10 years.

A more important difference is that we come to Before Sunset with questions we want answered. What have Jesse and Celine been up to in the intervening 10 years? Did they keep their promise at the end of the movie? The characters have gone from being mysterious strangers we’re meeting for the first time to people with histories - they've transformed from archetypes into very specific people … people whose lives we care about.

Before Sunset is also a much more dramatically focused film than Before Sunrise. The first film is about getting to know the characters and settling in with them like you’d settle in with a good book. It’s also about the fun of watching a relationship emerge. In this second movie, Celine and Jesse are testing each other. As soon as it starts, we know they once made a commitment to each other and the rest of the film asks “How much does this person mean to me?” It’s not about introductions anymore, it’s about what’s going to happen in the rest of their lives.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

[Film] Before I talk about Before Sunset …

The tension I found in Before Sunrise was that even a single misstep in their conversation, one comment taken the wrong way could ruin their fragile developing romance.

In Before Sunset, the stakes are even higher. There’s a marriage, children, failed relationships and mutual blame. That scene in the rental car where Jesse and Celine just vent at each other about how holding on to their night in Vienna ruined their lives, … well, I was crying during it. *

But this time round, I didn’t focus on their conversation. I was more interested in the rising sexual tension. In this respect, the film shared a similar appeal to Lost in Translation; don’t watch on what they’re doing or saying, but how they’re acting round each other. It’s the subtext that’s fascinating.

And anyway, the film’s not about 2 strangers getting to know each other. At a dialogue level, it’s simply re-establishing that Jesse and Celine can talk this deeply with each other. What's really at stake is the conflict - between their growing attraction and the revelations about their lives since 'that night'.

Before Sunrise’s ambiguous ending kept me wondering for 8 years, but all it asks is: will they meet again? At the end of Before Sunset, there are 2 variables: Will they sleep together now? And after that, will they continue seeing each other? The script-writers (Ethan, Julie and Richard) are asking us whether we think these characters are willing to fundamentally change their lives.

So what do I think they do?

Well, I think it’s a given that they are in some sort of love. That they know what love feels like, they know it can damage you, and they know there’s a cost.

But I don’t know what they do. I don’t even think I want to know what I think about what they do, yet. … But I suspect they sleep together, and I hope they try and make a go of it … but I also hope that if there’s a sequel in 10 years time, it’s not about a tumultuous conversation centering around the day of their divorce. Maybe that’s why both these movies work. They suggest the possibility of how great the relationship could be without going into the day-to-day.

* I’ll give some more thought to why I loved the car scene – but the fact that I idealise Before Sunset the way they idealise their night together probably has something to do with it.

Friday, November 26, 2004

[RPG] The Farm ... One Last Look

In this final article about The Farm*, I’m interested in how the rules reveal a philosophy, a premise behind the game…

Right from the start, the focus is on the group. It's assumed that six people are playing this game. They get 48 points to divide between their mental and physical scores. So almost the first thing you do in this game is try to co-operate on allocating resources.

The rules seem designed to create questions about teamwork versus individualism. In my personal creepiest-sentence-of-the-entire-game, “The Leader is voted into office by the group during any of the three feeding times.” This Leader can be given the players’ dice when lots of them need to make a skill check. The Leader then rolls the dice and allocate each player the number they say need to succeed.

The Leader has no compulsion to keep their word. They can hand out a different (unwanted) number or keep good results for themselves. Carefully maneuvering yourself into the Leader position at a moment when it’s advantageous to you is always an option.

But the players also have a way of looking out for Number 1. After the Leader’s rolled dice for the group, a player can say (using these precise words), “I am a pig. Give me all the 4’s” if – for instance – they want 4s. Although it’s not clarified, I suspect that only one person can claim the role of Pig during any group roll.

The impression I’m getting from this game is that it’s a Prisoner’s Dilemma-type exercise in trust and co-operation.

Another neat wrinkle in the rules is that you can loan successes to someone else … but this puts you into “Skill Debt”, and until that Skill Debt is repaid, you can never succeed in the skill that uses that number. Other players can’t pay you back – so the only ways to regain your ability are to: a) rely on luck; or b) be the Pig.

That means helping other players is a conscious act of pure altruism …

So what’s the conclusion? Jared’s summary is: “The point of the game is to band together as a group and escape. But is that even possible? I don't know the answer to that question. But if I had to make a guess, I'd say no. No, it's not possible.

“But maybe one person can make it to freedom. … Maybe.”

The Farm is testing us. Is this a world where only an individual can survive? Where you have to act like an animal to escape an animal’s fate? And if you need the help of others to even get a chance of escaping, then at what point do you betray your friends?

*Previously I’ve asked: What’s The Farm about? Why is it such a creepy game? And how do you play it?

Monday, November 22, 2004

[TV] Love triangle explodes in Everwood!

EPHRAM the surly teenage genius loves AMY, the most popular girl in school, who’s obsessed with COLIN (who’s been in a coma for most of the last six months).

In flashbacks, Colin’s been cocky and almost unbearable. Now that he’s just gotten home from hospital, script and performance have turned him into a quiet tortured soul – showing how awful it’d be to have amnesia while being surrounded by loving friends.

It’s a great pay-off for a pivotal character who was mostly off-screen for the first half of Season 1, and a vivid demonstration of how Everwood’s writers do exactly what you expect and hope to see, but twist it in a way that makes it deeper, more human.

Coming soon: a Beginner’s Guide to Everwood.

[TV] How to Write a TV Series - The Pilot 3.6 (cont'd)

So the primary function of a pilot is to make you want to watch the show again. It does this by being as rewarding on as many different levels as possible: entertaining, engaging, raising curiosity. Let's call this "Indoctrination" [thanks Chris Gilman, for the term].

The secondary - and nearly as important - thing a pilot should do is introduce the audience to the situation the show is about. You know - this is a show about a man who's split between his family and the crime ring he runs; this is a show about a man who fights terrorism in real-time. Let's call this function, "Orientation".

How do you introduce the audience to a situation? You either create a new situation for them to watch or you throw them in the deep end of an existing story (in media res) - basically you ask if you want the viewers to have the same knowledge as the characters, or less.* Ways of doing this include: Change Status Quo (The Sopranos) or Insert a new character (Rachel arrives on Friends) or Rely on your Premise.

Status Quo changers are attention grabbing episodes. They have big plot points that may mislead you about what the tone of the show will be. See my review of The Days, below - and I found The O.C. particularly guilty of this.

Inserting a new character is almost a pilot cliche [along with setting up someone who looks like a main character and then killing them off in the first ep - The West Wing, Third Watch, Everwood, Six Feet Under]. The idea is that the "new guy" is our point of view character; we meet the rest of the cast along with them and make our judgements about how everyone fits together at the same pace they do. Obvious variations here include: the new guy is stupid and draws different conclusions to us; kill the new guy off; and make the new guy disrupt the status quo (a classic - look at The O.C. and the real pilot ep of Firefly).

In Media Res - or Rely on your Premise - pilots are rare. I'm doing that with the sit-com I'm working on. It requires a strong situation that's so interesting it hooks viewers in - and a creative decision that experiencing the final situation is more interesting than showing how the situation gets set up.

*Theoretically, you could create a situation where the audience have more knowledge than the characters (for example if you were dealing with a well-known legend like King Arthur - or more recently, the Superman mythos in Smallville). That's an extremely easy way to create an awesome amount of subtext. It also makes foreshadowing easy to see.

[TV] The Days - Pilot episode

Hey, it's another family drama. In fact it could be a piss-take of fam-drams. After all there's a genius in there (see also Everwood, Joan of Arcadia, Gilmore Girls and The O.C.). In fact there's 2 (see Everwood). The Dad is having a midlife crisis (see Everwood, ... hell, see every other fam-dram ever made) and the son-dad relationship seems like a watered down version of Everwood's 'Dad wants to get close to distant son'. I love the mother-daughter relationship (if it develops into something more complex, I will have to compare and contrast it to Gilmore Girls ). Finally, it's doing the knowy pop-culture dialogue thing ... badly.

Let's take a look at the structure and see what it teaches us about the type of thrills offers. The daughter is pregnant before the opening credits roll. This is okay but I don't care about any of the characters yet. My first laugh of the entire episode comes at Commercial Break 2 when the surly-teenage-writer-genius-son (a wish-fulfilment character on the part of the series creator?) decks the father of his sister's baby, which is how the Mum finds out her daughter is pregnant just as the daughter arrives home. At CB 3 the Mum finds out she is also pregnant just as the Dad reveals he is unemployed. So, the appeal of The Days is its hyped-up soapy plot twists - every family member having a big life changing moment that collides with everyone else.

Can it keep up this pace? Is this The Lakes and we will have moved on from pregnancy and unemployment by the next episode? Or has this pilot set up a season's worth of issues, will it have more than a pilot's worth of plot points as cool as CB 2 and 3?

This is why I try not to judge TV on the basis of one or three episodes. Give a show a decent stretch - 6 eps at least - to see how it handles story arcs and character development - all that 'invisible' stuff that keeps me interested until the characters have enough backstory - and they either start pro-actively generating their own plots or they don't. That's when I make my judgment about a show.

Unfortunately I didn't record of the last five minutes of the episode. That means there are some 'format' issues about the show I'll be interested to see. Did it end in a cliffhanger? Will the next day (each episode takes place over 24 hours) be a lot further on in time?

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Comments Enabled!

All hail the benefits of beta-testing. You can now post comments to this blog. From what I've read, it looks like that'll only apply to entries made after this post.

[TV] Smallville 3.8

Lex, about to be chemically lobotomised by his reluctant father ... good.
The implication that the series will eventually portray Lex's evil as a by-product of mental illness rather than a choice ... bad.
The smaller details and much of the execution of this episode ... kind of lame.
But on the other hand, having a storyline based off the characters' own histories rather than a "Monster of the Week" is extremely satisfying.

Just one small part of why Smallville is a frustrating show. Later, lets vent about its genre and why it's bad for Clark Kent to be the centre of the universe.

The Death of Pop Culture

This is just a brain dump at this point, and it starts with the question: Are free-to-air networks angry at people downloading copies of their TV shows?

Let's say they are (they're losing advertising revenue because viewers who download watch the shows without ads). What's their response? How does the Network's business model change? 1) They could insert massive amounts of product placements INTO the shows. Therefore downloading them still creates benefits for the companies that are advertising. Or 2) Free-to-air networks become subscription-only networks.

Following model 1 means you limit the types of shows you produce (Lost might be a tough sell in this environment, for instance) and the advertised products are time-bound which may limit the repeatability of the series. I'm interested in the ramifications of model 1, but that's tangential to my main point.

Following model 2 means you create stratas of pop culture based on who can afford access to what material. At the very least, it'll create a rich and a poor pop-culture. ... And this is already happening. As soon as you create a divide based on economics, have you destroyed pop culture? Will there still be a broad enough base of free/cheap material to sustain it?

Is there a pop culture at the moment or do other non-economic differences (religion being the biggest one I can think of off-hand) mean that there's only broad special interest groups that only pay attention to their own thing. And if that's the case, then what does it mean for something to be "mainstream"?

Note: Pop Culture, for the purposes of this brain dump, is a shorthand ("Oh that show? It's like Buffy.") that can be used to create a sense of belonging and community.

[TV] Curb your Enthusiasm

Some thoughts after watching a full episode for the first time: The show looks and presents itself as boring, cheap and mundane. And then Larry David gets a massage from a ... hooker? Who offers to finish him off ... and from there the episode (which I found laugh-free up until that point) is hilarious*.

Why? Because suddenly the story is filled with sub-text ... Larry's fear of being discovered, his desire to keep it from his wife. The pressure of the situation lets me learn about his character - a need to please, selfishness, his sychophancy, his belief that most things will turn out bad. In fact, he's George from Seinfeld.

And seeing as (I think) Larry based George on himself, maybe he finds his artistic inspiration from pouring his self-loathing into public critiques of his own life.

Curb Your Enthusiasm is bitter, depraved - Seinfeld with the gloves off. I found it a tough watch in that 'cringe for the hero' The Office/Fawlty Towers kind of way. I won't be going too far out of my way to watch it again but I suspect there's some interesting stuff going on here.

* Hopefully I didn't find the early parts of the episode funny because I was missing the 'invisible laughs' - of character relationships that I don't know about yet.

[TV] How to Write a TV Series 3.6

3.6 The Pilot [... so this is an addition from that table of contents, yesterday]

The pilot episode of a TV series has quite a few functions, but its most important is:

It's the 1st time people will see your show, so make it a rewarding experience for them.*

Other functions include:
1) clearly introduce the most vital of the main characters (MCs).
2) clearly introduce key relationships.
3) orient the viewers to the tone of the show. What emotions will they experience watching it; what emotion will they be left with?
4) what's the Premise of the show - what's it saying (or asking) about the world?
5) make sure that events just before the 1st ad-break hooks the viewer into coming back and seeing what happens.
6) ... and this is last on the list 'cos it's also important ... what is the main unresolved Tension in this show? What exactly are we watching to see what happens? For instance, how will Buffy handle being a vampire slayer? Will Tony Soprano reconcile his family and his crime syndicate? Will Sydney bring down SD6? (Alias).

The Tension that drives an entire show has to be big (in terms of its ramifications). If the show has a main character - and that's another section to add in - then the Tension is intimately tied to them.

Also: a bit of common wisdom I heard from the Firefly writers and directors commentary: you should think of your first six episodes as pilot episodes. This gives people who are late-comers to the show a chance to catch up (... and it also reminds me of another section to add in, probably 3.1.1 Continuity - Loose or Tight).

*That's basic conditioning theory in psychology. Make it rewarding and they're more likely to return for a second viewing.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

[TV] How to Write a TV Series

A sketchy, first draft Table of Contents for a book on TV Series Design:

Update: I won't be indexing new entries for a while, so you can find a list of new posts on this del.icio.us page.

0. Introduction
..... 0.0.1 What's going on?
..... 0.0.2 The Goal
0.1 Three things to know
..... 0.1.1 The Situation
..... 0.1.2 The Situation is a Tube
..... 0.1.3 The Question
Some Starting Points
0.3 The 4 Essentials in action
0.4 What to expect

1. Creating the Vision
1.1 The Character of the Show
..... 1.1.1 Emotion
..... aka Mood or Tone
..... Scripts are Emotion
..... 1.1.2 Genre
..... 1.1.3 Continuity (Loose or Tight)
..... 1.1.4 Open or Closed Episodes
...... Advantages and Disadvantages of Open vs. Closed

1.2 The Characters in the Show

..... 1.2.1 Primetime Adventures - the game
..... 1.2.2 Issues
1.3 Tone

..... 1.3.1 Moments
1.4 Describing the Characters
..... 1.4.1 Principles

2. Assembling the Team
2.0 How I hire
..... 2.0.1 3 Levels of Power
2.1 Writers
..... 2.1.1 Two Leaders
2.2 Producers
2.3 Casting [and this will be a large section]
..... 2.3.1 'Freaks & Geeks' advice

3. Writing the Scripts

3.1 Series Arc
..... 3.1.1 Continuity

..... Easy Continuity
..... 3.1.2 Not getting cancelled
..... 3.1.3 How Do You Create Cool Long-Running Plot?

3.2 Learning about the characters
..... 3.2.1 3D Characters
..... 3.2.2 More about Backstory
..... Examples of Backstory
..... 'Oldboy' - Backstory = Plot Twist
..... 3.2.3
Interviewing the Actor

3.3 Character Arcs

3.4 Individual Episodes [This gets broken down further]
..... 3.4.1 The A-Plot
..... The Question
..... 3.4.2 Subtext
...... Using Family Dramas as an example
..... 3.4.3 Scenes
...... 3.4.1 Layering Scenes
...... 3.4.2 The Worst
3.5 Dealing with the Network
..... 3.5.1 The Goal with Executives
3.6 The Pilot
..... 3.6.1 Indoctrination
..... 3.6.2 Orientation

4. Pre-Production
4.1 Choosing Directors
..... 4.1.1 The Director's Bible
..... 4.1.2 The Test Episode
4.2 The Look of the Show

4.3 The Read-Through (and what comes after)

5. Ways to Improve Communication
5.1 6 Hat.
5.2 Sharing the vision.
5.3 Listening till you get to the bottom.
5.4 Gung-Ho.
5.5 Assignments based on passion.
5.6 Sharing an episode.

6. The Ideal Process
6.0 Introduction
..... 6.0.1 Saving Time
6.1 Overview of the Process
6.2 Phase 1
..... 6.2.1 More on Phase 1
..... 6.2.2 The Demo Script

7. How to Join a Team (Writing for someone else)
7.1 Introduction to writing for someone else
7.2 Knowing your place in the hierarchy
..... 7.2.1 Go into a meeting as the 'new guy'.
7.3 How to be a good team member

8. How to Build a Team
8.1 Peak Performers


That's the first half. Back soon with the second. And of course it'll be chock-full of lovebites anecdotes, examples from other shows and POVs from everyone involved in the process.

7,350/ 40,000 [10/7/05]
The Goal is to write 40,000 by 1 April 2006

Friday, November 19, 2004

[RPG] I'm not an Animal!... wait - I am!

Of course the subtext of The Farm is to place us in the position of the animals many of us consume every day. In this respect, it shares a philosophical outlook with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (original and remake).

After re-reading the rules, I see 3 obvious types of stories (or at least, sub-plots): a) Personal relationships with members of other groups (including forbidden sexual liasons); b) relationships with the administrators of the Farm; and c) escape attempts.

There’s also the personal question of whether you will cave in to authority or defy it. The most direct way of making that choice meaningful? ... Enforce swift and severe punishments for transgressing the strict boundaries of ‘normal’ behaviour at the Farm. In actual play, I suspect a dominant factor would be an intense method-actor approach to your own psychological well-being and deteriorating state of mind.

There’s some interesting mechanical aspects to the rules that I’ll go into soon. As well as that, I’ll have to review the other game that I’ve played from designer Jared Sorenson: the cult favourite, InSpectres.

But before that review, there’ll be comments on 3 ‘must-read’ role-playing games for TV series designers - and anyone interested in creative collaborations: Prime Time Adventures, Universalis and Sorceror.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

[TV] The Apprentice 2.5

Maybe this show’s appeal is that everything’s big, grand, and expensive (and quite often garish) … but for me the wish fulfillment isn’t about the lifestyle. It’s the situations and problems that the two teams face every week.

I have never once wanted to be on the Survivor island. The great appeal of The Apprentice is that I constantly imagine what I would do in their situation.

Could I have convinced the Donald not to fire me if I were in Pamela’s shoes?
Could I have gotten the men’s lemonade stand up and running earlier in Season 1?
Or figured out that opening a second stand would be an easy extra source of revenue (which no one did, it’s just a solution I came up with while watching the show).

Last night Pamela was faced with an impossible situation – to turn around a self-destructive, imploding team. She talked hard, tried to break dysfunctional relationships and brought in a very close result (a $10 difference in sales, when both teams brought in nearly $18,000 in calls).

But Pamela’s team still lost.

No matter how she tried to paint it, Donald Trump and his advisors kept bringing Pamela back to that single point: success or failure is based on results. And a $10 difference is still a losing result.

She could have insisted that a member of her team (Marie) had misrepresented her skills. Or she could have demonstrated that she replaced Marie at the last minute – an obvious but good decision. Pamela could even have negotiated with the Donald – offering to be project manager next week and if her team lost, Pamela would be automatically dismissed. That’s the thing with business and script-writing: they are open ended situations. Use lateral thinking. Examine all the angles.

You know what? Trump irritates me. The show creates an artificial team situation, throws Pamela in the deep end, places enormous expectations on her – and then when she almost fulfills them (in an environment she’s completely unfamiliar with), Trump fires her.

Losing result or not, I don’t think that makes good business sense.

[RPG] More reasons to love The Farm

It’s locked into a sub-genre of horror, the “Being Eaten by Other People” thing … but at the same time it feels like it’s referring to an established work, some sort of ‘60s TV series like The Prisoner that was way too extreme and quickly cancelled. So the game creates that sense that it’s archetypal.

The details are schematic, forcing you to figure out how The Farm works yourself. Maybe that makes you complicit in its evil. If you can imagine how it runs, part of you can accept it. And running it like an institution, so that the process of preparing people to be eaten is so clinical, just amps the horror up.

Finally, the people who run the Farm, especially the Headmasters (the ones who eat you) scare me. They lack any empathy for the Farm’s residents, while at the same time being able to engage them in pleasant conversation. There’s something about this duality that’s inhuman, insane, fascinating. It’s the ‘nice evil’ of The Emperor from Star Wars I & II or (at a stretch) Tony Soprano.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

[TV] Coming Up Next ...

It's important to have passions in your life. One of mine is finding and analysing good (and bad) TV. Here are some of the shows I'll be talking about:

The Apprentice - vanity, dysfunctional teams and the occasional business lesson. It's Survivor with the petty and boring politics of alliances rendered completely unnecessary by the Donald.

Everybody Loves Raymond - a textbook example of story-telling through extended scenes. It's a pacing you don't often see on TV these days. It's also probably the closest we've come to a situation-horror.

Dr Phil - a talk show that's genuinely interested in solving problems - and revisiting people and issues ... because it knows there's no easy fix.

Kete Aronui - a Maori TV series profiling local artists.

Gilmore Girls - Possibly my favourite show on TV.

Smallville - so much potential, so much sub-text and story tension loaded into the premise ... and you can see it being squandered week by week. Possibly the show I find most irritating on TV.

Tru Calling - it has just been cancelled in the States before an episode of its second season has even aired. It's got a claustrophobic approach to mysteries and a very effective sledgehammer approach to running variations on its format.

Everwood - While there's no new Gilmore Girls on the box till '05, this show becomes my fix for the Qurky Small Town genre, and an object lesson in how to reveal powerful backstories.

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? - Will I have much to say about this? Don't know, but it is fun.

Also shows that aren't currently screening shows like Firefly, Lost, Joan of Arcadia, 24, The Sopranos and The Shield will get a look in - along with reviews and analyses of NZ TV (man, I wish I'd gotten this blog up and running during the time Bro'Town and Serial Killers were on air).

As ever, many of my thoughts will be published in small fragments. When I feel like there's enough of them to reach a critical mass on a subject, I'll polish them into an essay or review.

To finish: TV1 is replaying Moonlighting - a classic (maybe, see for yourself) - weekdays TV1 at 1pm (opposite Gilmore Girls on 2). It defined the "Will they or won't they" plot for a decade; does it still hold up?

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Transparent green - and evil

[OOS] Our X-box is called The Texas Rose out of Boston. Everett won her in the grand prize competition at the 24-hour Movie Marathon last weekend. She is transparent green, beautiful and evil.

Having an X-box in our living room is like having a never ending supply of chocolate silk cake sitting in front of a 300 kilo shut-in who wants to go on a diet. I may not want to have/play a little bit, but the idea is always in my mind. One slip and I find I've been on Halo 1 for an hour and the tendons in my forearms are beginning to pulse with the promise of pain tomorrow.

"Just one more checkpoint" is not the thought process of a man trying to practice moderation.

"One of the creepiest games I've read"

[RPG] If y're interested in checking out The Farm, be prepared. It's cold - one of the 2 ways I like my horror - and the idea of running it has borderline obsessed me for the last 2 weeks.

Premise: you wake up as a prisoner on the Farm. Each time the game is played, the players move from Group 6 to Group 5 to 4 ... and if the group survives to reach Group 1, they will be killed and served to the Headmasters as food at the end of the game.

The Object: ... is to escape.

Cookies enabled, ready to post

Well, it's taken a week and a half to figure out why I couldn't log in to this site, but 2 seconds of conversation last night with Isvara and his helpdesk-fu have sorted me out.

Now for the Mission Statement: I'm a script-writer and director, so this blog's gunna focus on my love of creating new worlds.

It'll consist of short opinions and comments on [Film], [TV], and roleplaying games [RPG]. There might also be a little NZ political commentary [POLS]. I'm trying to beat a pretty severe bout of [OOS] so I'll include brief updates on that too.

Anyway, welcome. Kick off yr shoes.