Archive for December, 2014

a little theory about Mockingjay: Parts 1 and 2

I have an idea about the Hunger Games movies. It’s something I’ve toyed with a bit since reading the books as they came out – yes, for once, I was the one who had read all the books first and had to STFU to avoid spoiling people.

Mostly it’s on my mind because we just finally Mockingjay Part 1 last weekend, and I thought it was really good and quite faithful to the first half of the book. But it’s very much a middle movie, and I don’t think people are reading it as a “middle” movie, because it’s supposedly the first half of the conclusion (as evidenced by the name) and because it’s the first half of the third book. And I think that’s causing some some of the complaints about stretching the story.

But the more I think about the structure, the more I’m seeing the first book (and film) as almost a prequel to a primary arc which spanned two books. Yes, they’re connected, tightly so. But I’d argue the events of The Hunger Games sets up the the action of Catching Fire and Mockingjay, and that those two books (and three films) form an arc of their own – and that the first half of Mockingjay really is its own piece, thematically.

I mean, let’s face it, Catching Fire is kind of a restart. It’s kind of a restart storywise – not from worldbuilding standpoint, no, but a bit of a narrative restart nonetheless. You’ve just got the characters’ backstories already. It’s a chance to restart, in media res.

As other examples of this phenomenon, I offer Book One of Elfquest vs. The Grand Quest (books 2-4, which form one story), and also, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

I’m thinking that seen in this light, dividing Mockingjay into two films makes a lot more sense. Giving the middle of a story like this time to develop and breathe is sound, rather than rushing in to the big climax; you’d like to be able to treat this separately. (See also the variety of parallels between Mockingjay Part 1 and The Empire Strikes Back, particularly with Peeta and Han, who is, let’s face it, still in Carbonite, even if they’ve got him moved back to rebel territory, and who will start being freed in Part 2…)

Part 2 will tell me whether or not I’m on crack. Part 1 was so much lower key than the previous two films, in so many ways. That can read as being less ambitious – or as a lot more tightly confined, which isn’t just thematically appropriate, but is arguably thematically necessary to the story.

So if the atmosphere and character of Part 2 changes sharply from Part 1, I’ll consider that a degree of confirmation. You can change tone sharply between films without it feeling forced; if they’d done all of Mockingjay as one film, the feel of one or the other half would’ve been sacrificed, and I think to the detriment of the overall story.

I just kind of wish they’d gone all the way and given them separate titles. I can see why not to, from a marketing standpoint – but from an artistic standpoint, I rather wish they’d had.

But, yes. That’s my theory. Thoughts?

ps: We’ve had a lot of people posting in the Maker of Things comments section! Add your own, or check out what people have been saying, there’s a surprising lot already.

Do you make a thing? Post in comments.

Do you, yourself, make a thing that you want to show or even sell to other people? THIS IS YOUR POST! It’s kind of like what Scalzi does, but just one post, rather than a whole week of them, because his audience is way bigger than mine. But I know I have creative people following me, too.

So, your crafts, music, books, electronics, sculpture, arts, whatever: talk about it HERE SPECIFICALLY in comments! Not on whatever echo this is, but OVER HERE. I’ll collect and repost them as a separate blog entry next Monday.

And tell friends, so they can do it too. 😀

14 songs, 53 minutes

Up way too late working on track orderings. I’m not even broadcasting this out, I just felt like putting it somewhere. I am the most undisciplined musician ever.

Screen Shot 0026-12-09 at 1.33.26 AM

a weekend of readings

We have recorded the readings! They’re out to some Kickstarter backers now, getting a bit of a final sign-off. I also wanted to work on the cover layout this weekend, but between rehearsals and WordPress deciding that it wasn’t going to serve the same page to everybody for no reason at all – see below – I couldn’t quite get to that.

Still, doesn’t matter. We have the art, I know what I’m doing, I can finish out the cover while the album is at the mastering engineer. We can’t hand the tracks over for mastering quite yet – I’ve never recorded readings before, and we need to see what people think of them – but we’re close.

I mean goddamn, we are close. Scary close. I can taste it close.

Oh, does the new Bone Walker preview player in the sidebar on the left show up correctly for you? You’ll only see it from the blog proper, not in RSS or in echoed posts. I should most certainly make it shorter, and rip out some of the oldest tracks. But it was difficult enough to make WordPress add the new player at all, so I’m kind of IT’S WORKING DON’T TOUCH IT. (WordPress was provably serving different content to different apps on the same computer. That’s a special kind of hate.)

Anyway, it should look something like this – does it?

Long Player is Long

life with supervillainy: desolation of smaug edition

We’re watching the extended Desolation of Smaug tonight at the Lair.

Thorin to Bilbo, wild-eyed: Did you find the Arkenstone? Did you find it?!
Minion Anna, as Bilbo: Uh, Thorin… are you wearing your crazypants?
Minion Paul, as Thorin: I have more than one pair!
Solarbird, as Thorin: …and I’m wearing them all.

Recording readings this weekend

We’re finally recording the readings this weekend! Yay! Some test recordings and such on Saturday, and hopefully we’ll keep some of those, and the finals on Sunday.

Also, I got the Klopfenpop remix/bonus track in from Josh, and I have to say he’s really outdone himself. This is great work, and not what I expected, but totally fitting. You’ll love it.

Next week I want to do a show-off-your-stuff post, so if you have anything you do or make or write and want to talk about it, look for that on Monday and start commenting. It’ll be like Scalzi’s, except I’ll make a top-layer collation post too.

So watch for that next Monday.

Anyway, got to prep for the final readings. Have a good weekend, everybody!

I need your opinion on something

One of the big tricks you have to do when throwing your album and/or single out there – either or both, honestly – is say “fans of <foo> will like this, too!”

Typically, that’s who you sound kind of like. I flailed around on that pretty hard with Dick Tracy Must Die, and I’m still not happy with choices I made.

So who would you list?

I think it’s clear that the lists would be different for the songs (particularly “Something’s Coming” and “Song for a Free Court/Anarchy Now!”) than for the instrumentals. So both of these would be really helpful.

Obviously, I’ve got a few – mostly the ones left over from Dick Tracy Must Die for the songs, and a bunch of Newfoundland and Quebecois trad bands for the instrumentals. But I’m not happy with either list.

Got any ideas? I really could use the suggestions.

occasionally things get weird

Over the last week, a post that’s well over a year old has received almost 1,000 hits. And most of the people loading it are sticking around long enough to read it, or at least large chunks thereof.

I have no idea why. Or where they’re coming from. None. No referral URLs, no sources given, they’re not search results. I got nothin’.

My best guess it it’s found its way onto some school mailing list. But that’s a complete guess. Anybody got any ideas? Because I got nothin’.

Also it’s Cyber Monday or whatever so go listen to the new single and pre-order the album! We need to pay the mastering engineer. DO IT DO IT DO IT! XD

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