Monthly Archives: May 2010

Going on the Account: Part the Two Hundred Forty Third

Part the Two Hundred Forty Third of RAGING GAIL is now up, and may be read here.

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Going on the Account: Arrrrr! Esssss! Teeeeee!…..

As part of the news about SoapNnet becoming Disney Junior, there was passing mention about this new channel becoming the home of the new educational series JAKE AND THE NEVER LAND PIRATES.

On the one hand, having a pirate version of Dora and Diego teaching kids how to play with each other sounds laudable on the surface.  And I’m sure as heck not going to discourage people from creating pirate properties, no sir.

Then again, what better way to get kids to learn teamwork than having them go on the account out in the playground or park?  And do we really need to see Disney’s version of Captain Hook and Smee as stand-ins for Swiper and the Bobo Brothers?

Can tell I have a kid much…?
And for the extra-observant amongst you, anyone else on seeing the characters mentioned above started to notice something as of Part the Two Hundred Twenty Fourth…?

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Going on the Account: Part the Two Hundred Forty Second

Part the Two Hundred Forty Second of RAGING GAIL is now up, and may be read here.

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Going on the Account: Lights! Cameras! Dust Jacket Blurbs!

It’s been pretty quiet amongst the pirates; a news search online gets you more hits about the folks from Pittsburgh than those from Somalia.

It got so quiet, it became hard to miss this article in the NY TIMES about the 2010 Moby Awards for book trailers.

Yes, trailers.  For books.  With categories for low budget / indie books.

Like this one…

Lord almighty, how in the hell do I keep up with this?  It’s tough enough that I have to do all the marketing for the book I’m also writing by being my own press agent, taking on a one-man publishing enterprise while doing the father and husband gig and the job (FNORD), as they say in Austin…

And now I, the sole publicity department, have to contract out this dinky little production company, the one consisting of me, to do some film to get people interested in the book?  (I’m not sure I have the liquid capital needed to hire a professional shop for this, sorry.)  And if I’m doing a short film that highlights the book, isn’t the inevitable question going to be, “Hey, why not make a small screen adaptation?”

Is there a chance we’re losing sight of something here?  Maybe that we’re tying in McLuhanesque ‘cool’ media to ‘hot’ media with potentially self-defeating results, or that there’s a reason writers usually don’t star in their own screenplays.  (And no, you should not throw Matt Damon and Ben Affleck at me; you know where their true allegiances lie…)  And maybe if I was writing something so small in scale that the usual Sundance nominee would look like THE TEN COMMANDMENTS by comparison, then it might be possible, but c’mon!

Seriously, I draw pictures about as well as the Deepwater Horizon draws oil to the surface, so animation’s out for me.  Closest we could get would be with simple modeling tools, which means I could do a scene where the Casa comes down on the Gale using two Lego ships in the bathtub.  And yeah, typing that sentence is as lame as imagining it…

But over and above this sense of being shoved aside by a marketing trend is the futility that seems inherent in the task, going back to a point made earlier.  Once you find that you need visuals to promote words, you set yourself up for limiting your output by having to keep in mind, “Would this make a good YouTube upload?”  When the Buggles sang “Video Killed the Radio Star,” there was more than just flippant irony being presented; the effects of MTV on the music industry have been rehashed quite often, and serve as a warning for the folks who are excited about using video to promote books.

Already there are clear delineations between writing prose and screen writing, in terms of what works in one medium versus the other.  If we blur that further, where what goes up on screen well needs to be an essential component of the prose, we’ve ceded the medium and abandoned it.  And if all writing is writing for the screen, we end up with a much poorer, shallower body of work we can point to.

If anyone were to film a scene from the novel, it’d have to be someone other than myself.  I’d not say no, though I’d give fair warning as a I do above as to what’s involved here…

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Going on the Account: Part the Two Hundred Forty First

Part the Two Hundred Forty First of RAGING GAIL is now up, and may be read here.

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Going on the Account: Part the Two Hundred Fortieth

Part the Two Hundred Fortieth of RAGING GAIL is now up, and may be read here.  And my apologies about some of the links this week for the latest parts; something went awry when I tried to update, but we’re righted now.

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Going on the Account: A Tale of Two Justices

Sometimes the dichotomy can be striking.

On the one hand, Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse pled guilty to hijacking the Maersk Alabama last year, and is looking at a minimum of 27 years for the two charges he pled on.  (He was facing six counts, but as part of the plea deal four were dropped.)  His mother, as would any mom out there (I hope), is pleading for leniency for her son, stating that what happened to her baby was too harsh.

Then again, Jay Bahadur pointed out (via the BBC) that the ten pirates repelled after trying to storm the Moscow University, who were released after the attack due to “insufficient legal grounds” for a trial, were condemned to a rubber boat with no navigational equipment and left to the mercy of the Indian Ocean, most likely to die at sea.  Looking for mercy from the Indian Ocean is a lot like looking to get Geena Davis to sign on for a sequel to CUTTHROAT ISLAND; given a choice, I’d put the better money on being in the dingy…

Two radically different ways to deal with pirates; only the luck of the draw in choosing whom to go after sealed these crews’ fates.  Such is how Fortuna dances with pirates…

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