Day 632: Research

Day 632: Research

I watched the classic adventure flick King Solomon’s Mines tonight, and didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped I would 😛 Don’t get me wrong, it was still a lot of fun in a very old school kind of way, but it just wasn’t all that well-made. The characters were clunky, they made the unfortunate choice of making the woman in the movie absolutely worthless and helpless, but mostly the adventures just weren’t that exciting. Waaaaaay too much time spent just kind of marvelling at the natives, and not nearly enough trials and tribulations. I can’t say I recommend it, honestly.

It *was* cool to see, however, at the very end where Raiders of the Lost Ark stole directly from it with the whole rolling rock bit. Pumped up much more in Raiders, for sure, but I mean it’s directly lifted from that movie.

This is all “research” for the pilot I’m currently writing called The Foundation. Last night or the night before I think I wrote the I’d come up with a title for the pilot…well, that’s it. Yup. Stolen from Aasimov. A similar concept, too; a society of scientists who work together to preserve all the knowledge of human history. It was just too fun of a concept that fit so perfectly into the world I was creating to pass it up.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this whole idea of being “derivative,” or being a “plagarist.” In fact, I’m considering reading another writers’ thoughts about that very subject at our meeting tomorrow night. I have pretty strong feelings on the matter, but I’m curious to know what others think about it, too. My feelings on the matter are this: steal all the idea you fucking want to…just assemble them back in a way that offers something new and that is true to your own vision and story. We all look for shades of originality, to be honest…not wholesale new-ness. I truly, DEEPLY believe in that. Sure, there are an infinite number of stories out there and an infinite number of ways to tell them…but there are not even CLOSE to an infinite number of GOOD ways to tell a story. That is a much, much, much smaller number…and by now, it’s virtually guaranteed that somebody else has already done it that way.

So, where does that leave us? As fucking cannibals…or more positively put: recyclers. Take something old and make it new again. My innovation, my signature comes with the “new again” part, not with the whole idea in the first place.

For me and my scripts, it’s very simple: I’m choosing things to write that I’ve never seen on television. I’ve never seen a serial-murderer chase set in space before. I’ve never seen a show set in the 1930s of people running around finding tombs, and mummies and treasure, and lost worlds. Most importantly, these are the kinds of shows I’d get really excited about watching…and so I’m indulging that impulse and writing them.

This type of framing my stories within reference points that I know and love may turn out to be a phase. I’m new to all this, perhaps it’s my crutch to get me started…but I don’t think so. Star Wars was literally Kurosawa rip-off set in space. Tarantino entire filmography is an “homage” to various genre-flicks in the 60s and 70s…and “homage” is just another way to say a rip-off that you enjoyed. And, Indiana Jones was a rip off of King Solomon’s Allan Quatermaine and The Treasure of Sierra Madre and all that shit mixed with James Bond.

The people I look up to were all thieves. The thieving isn’t the issue…it’s your own execution. THAT’S what it all comes down to, and that’s the difference between an “homage” and “plagarism.”

Didn’t think that’s what tonight’s blog was going to be about, but there it is 😛 It was a good day today. Got my writing done, got my little bit of editing work done, and even watched a bit of the A’s game. Took a knocked-the-fuck-out 2-hour nap, too. Man, was I tired. Oh, and did apartment maintenance first thing in the morning too. It was a busy day…but also very restful. It was awesome.

Tomorrow is more of the same, gearing up for another week of work to basically close out the month, isn’t it? Holy shit. It’s flown by…let’s make it count, shall we?

Good night!